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Vikings' quarterback options in NFL Draft not as deep as expected

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What the Vikings decide to do with the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft is a complete mystery, but there seems to be a solid chance they select a quarterback.

While Lousiville's Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles and Fresno State's Derek Carr headline the best quarterback prospects, the class of 2014 is a lot lighter than it was not too long ago thanks to some high profile players deciding to stay in school, specifically Oregon's Marcus Mariota and UCLA's Brett Hundley.

Before they chose to stay in school, one scout told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that as many as nine quarterbacks belonged in the top 32 of draft eligible prospects.

“It would not surprise me when we make our board if we have nine quarterbacks with first-round grades,’’ the scout said. “Not at all. Obviously, that depends on which underclassmen declare, and you hear things out there. But I could see it.’’

Business Insider's Tony Manfred takes a look at how quickly the quarterback class has fallen apart.

Here's what the SI.com's big board of quarterbacks looked like a couple of months ago.

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
  2. Aaron Murray, Georgia
  3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
  4. AJ McCarron, Alabama
  5. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
  6. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
  7. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
  8. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
  9. Derek Carr, Fresno State
  10. Brett Hundley, UCLA

Murray and Mettenberger suffered injuries that will put their draft stock in question. Couple that with Mariota and Hundley staying in school and a class that could have featured as many as 10 star quarterbacks is now down to six. Four of the six – Bridgeweater, Bortles, Manziel and Carr – are all going in the first eight picks of Chris Burke's latest mock draft.

Manziel will undoubtedly be the most talked about QB in the draft. ESPN's Jeffrey Chadiha says Manziel doubters will "eat crow" once they see him shine in the NFL. Bleacher Report ranks Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles as the three best in the draft.

Is Manziel better than Bridgewater? One AFC scout told NFL.com that Bridgewater is a "second-round talent."

This debate will rage on for the next 3 1/2 months, and we'll enjoy covering it for you from every angle until the Vikings make their pick.

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