All the talk of Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles to the Minnesota Vikings can stop. In that first round, at least. According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Minnesota will not draft a signal caller with the 8th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Per King, it’s all about not taking an unnecessary risk. With veteran passers Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder still on the roster, the Vikings prefer not to take a gamble with their top-10 draft choice.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman cited the re-signing of Cassel as a “big reason” the Vikes won’t take the plunge in the first round of the draft. Spielman even took it a step further, admitting this year’s crop of quarterbacks aren’t as proven as some in past year’s drafts.
“Every one of these quarterbacks…nothing is a sure thing,” Spielman said.
With that said, Minnesota surely knows neither Cassel or Ponder are the long-term answer under center, which should continue to fuel rumors about their interest in quarterbacks that could drop into the second or third round.
Considering the Vikings do have a big long-term need at the position, round two figures to be where they pick their guy. Recent rumors have tied the Vikings to big-armed passers like Fresno State’s Derek Carr and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, both of which could be ideal fits in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s vertical passing offense.
Both Carr and Mettenberger have excellent arm strength and quick releases, although Carr is much more athletic and Mettenberger appears to have better control and poise in the pocket. Carr is also reportedly rated higher on more teams’ draft boards, which makes it much more likely for Mettenberger to slide to Minnesota early in round two than it is for Carr.
The Minnesota Vikings have done a great job trying to turn around their franchise quickly after a rough 2013 season, as they’ve brought in defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer and should see more production out of young talent, Cordarrelle Patterson and Sharrif Floyd in 2014.
Patterson is the most exciting subject point of the two, as he’s perfectly built with elite size and speed to breakout in Turner’s deep ball system. Of course, there’s always stud running back Adrian Peterson, too, who continues to be a top-three back in the league.
If the Vikings can just land their franchise passer in this year’s draft, they could be only 1-2 years away from making a serious playoff run.