What Marcus Mariota staying at Oregon means for the Vikings

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Big news for both college football and the NFL Tuesday with the report that quarterback Marcus Mariota will stay in school and return to Oregon in 2014.

With the Vikings likely looking for a franchise quarterback in next year's NFL Draft, Mariota's decision leaves the Vikings with one less option.

Mariota or Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater were widely considered the two best quarterbacks in the 2014 quarterback class.

With Mariota out, the top names behind Bridgewater include Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, UCLA's Brett Hundley, Fresno State's Derek Carr, and Clemson's Tajh Boyd.

Another name to watch out for is Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garropolo, who Vikings play-by-play guy Paul Allen has been championing all week. Garropolo has been compared to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Romo also attended Eastern Illinois.

According to the Star Tribune, the Vikings would pick sixth if the draft was held today (record in parenthesis).

  1. Texans (2-10)
  2. Rams [via Redskins] (3-9)
  3. Jaguars (3-9)
  4. Falcons (3-9)
  5. Bucs (3-9)
  6. Vikings (3-8-1)

Sports Illustrated released a mock draft on Tuesday and it projects the Vikings to select Carr with the sixth pick.

What happens after Bridgewater at the QB spot depends so much on which players declare — Mariota did not. Will Johnny Manziel? Blake Bortles? Brett Hundley? We know Carr, a senior, will be available. And if you think his prospects are gaining steam now, just wait until the Senior Bowl.

The draft won't kick off for another 156 days (May 8, 2014), but speculation is always fun... so get used to it because like the snow, it's coming.

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