Mar 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel shake hands with fans following the fourth quarter of the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Would the Vikings pass on Johnny Manziel?


In the wake of Mike Zimmer’s comments calling Johnny Manziel’s pro day a “sideshow” and telling reporters that he had concerns about what type of pro Manziel would be, there’s been speculation as to whether Zimmer was just laying an elaborate pre-draft “smokescreen,” or whether he was really not high on Manziel as a prospect.

Well, first of all, Zimmer’s statements on Manziel simply indicate that he has questions about him (and I think every coach and GM does), they weren’t an indication as to what type of answers Zimmer might have received.

But the comments did create this debate on NFL.com: Can the Vikings afford to pass on Johnny Manziel?

Three analysts said the Vikings should pass if they’re not comfortable with him. Two said he was a can’t-miss prospect the team needs to grab him if they’re able. One, Gil Brandt, the legendary Dallas Cowboys personnel man, essentially abstained by saying he didn’t think Manziel would be available for the Vikings to take.

I tend to fall into the former camp. If Mike Zimmer isn’t comfortable with a prospect, especially a quarterback, why would you try to force that fit? If you’re Rick Spielman, you need your next quarterback pick to be correct so I doubt you would stack the odds against yourself by putting your quarterback with a coach who doesn’t want him. If Manziel somehow does make it to No. 8 (which does seem highly unlikely at this point) and Zimmer doesn’t like him, trade that pick to a team that wants him and use the picks you acquire to help you go after another quarterback.

Here may be an even more relevant question though, and one that may be slightly less subjective:

Would the Vikings pass on Johnny Manziel, if he fell to them?

My answer would be yes.

Mike Zimmer’s coaching mentor, Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, used to say: “don’t be a celebrity quarterback.” Parcells wanted his quarterback to focus on football first and not be chasing attention or the spotlight.

Well, Johnny Manziel is currently in a commerical with Lebron James. Drake just wrote a song about him. It’s hard to argue that Manziel doesn’t chase the spotlight at least a little bit, and that’s not what Bill Parcells wanted in his quarterback. And I don’t expect Zimmer to differ radically from his mentor in that respect, especially when this may be his only shot at a head coaching job.

It’s clear Zimmer takes a lot of his coaching style from his mentor. He is a tough, no-nonsense coach who demands hard work and has littler tolerance for any B.S. Right or wrong, the persona Manziel had for much of his college career was showy, flashy, and contained plenty of B.S. Zimmer knows that he may only get one shot at this and the quarterback he helps select will define his head coaching tenure. Why would he tie himself to a guy that seems like the exact opposite of the guy he was taught to want?

Not to mention, it’s hard to see Manziel and Norv Turner meshing as well. While Turner did compliment how Manziel threw the ball at his pro day, I don’t think Turner will look at Manziel as a fit for his system.

Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Turner likes passers who can operate out of the pocket, and while Manziel can do that, that’s still not where he excels. Manziel is going to require a creative offensive coordinator who plays to his strengths if he is to succeed at the next level.

While Turner’s system is certainly adaptable (he’s already added 10 new plays this offseason for Cordarrelle Patterson), it seems like his playbook would require a significant makeover to suit Manziel. Do I see Turner overhauling his system, which has weathered over 20 NFL seasons, for a new prospect with plenty of question marks?

It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely not likely.

I’m sure Zimmer and Turner think another quarterback in this draft would click better with their personalities and systems. And Rick Spielman should take that guy.

Don’t brace yourself for Manziel mania Vikings fans, because I think you will be disappointed.

So what do you think? If Manziel is available at No. 8, should the Vikings sprint to the podium? Do you think he’s too exciting to pass up, or are you willing to look elsewhere at quarterback? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter @Goatman102!

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Tags: Johnny Manziel Mike Zimmer Norv Turner Rick Spielman Vikings

  • MikeH123

    If Zimmer/Turner can’t work with a Tarkenton/Favre hybrid then they shouldn’t be the coaches for the Vikings.

    • Ken Tomlin

      Not every coach/QB are good fits. Saying they shouldn’t be the coaches of the VIKES is a little harsh! What if they draft Manziel and he doesn’t work out?! What then? Tarkenton and Favre became great QB’s cuz of their strong work ethic, desire, and they were great fits in the system their OC’s ran, and not to sound like an a$$, but between the 2 of them, 1 Super Bowl win out of 5 trips. Both were 2 of the greatest QB s in nfl history. Zimmer and Turner are the best coaches we’ve had since Grant, Green/ Billick/ Dungy. I’ve got a really good feeling about what these 2 guys are going to do, and I also believe our next QB will be the franchise QB we’ve been waiting for! Whether it’s Manziel, Carr, or whomever, I trust Zimmer and Norv. That’s why they’re coaches and we are just commenting about it! Lol! SKOL VIKINGS!!

      • Justin Weishaar

        He doesnt lack any of those things. Plenty of qbs do the celebrity light

  • Justin Weishaar

    Disagree. If we pass on him and he lights it up. Zimmer will never be allowed to forget it.

    All qbs attract the lights. And 0lenty do commercials . The mannings. Favre. Broadway joe. Rodgers.

    • Ken Tomlin

      They sure do. AFTER they’ve established themselves in the NFL. Not before he’s even taken a single snap.

      • Justin Weishaar

        Not the point. The point is passing 9n a qb just for enjoying the spotlight is stupid. I dont care what he does for his personal life. As long as he works hard in the building his time is his own.
        Brady. Party
        Manning. Commercial.
        Eli. Yep
        Rodgers. Yep.

        WHO THE FRIG CARES. as long as he puts in. The time and work

        • jamed

          Totally Agree, its not the 1950s its 2014 and Zimmer is got to learn this new generation is way different than he is. There not many people still have the same values as he does

          • Justin Weishaar

            Not the point. Nfl players are celebrity people. The qb gets all the credit for a win. And all the blame for a loss. They will be I. The light. As long as he works to zimmers standards I dont care if he has a life. As long as he puts in the work.

          • jamed

            The point is I don’t think Manziel will match Zimmers standards there prolly to opposite people. Who’s to say he’s not gunna be drunk one night and pulls a day like the Manning camp. I do think if he’s there at 8 take him Manziel is gunna be huge in the NFL. The comments he made on 104.9 was there’s some flags that come up and were still looking into them he didn’t say were not taking Manziel I think what he said got taken outs context.

          • Justin Weishaar

            And my point is you to have to look at his field play first. He never let the limelight hurt his field play. And people who pass on a qb for jist that reason regret it. Dan mario had that rep com8ng out of college and would make the steelers regret it every year. Taking the safer beat. There are no rewards without risk in the draft. And if johnny lights it up and we pasd on him just for him having an active social life. Every writer. Rival fan. And critic. “They could have taken johnny

          • jamed

            I understand your point and I agree he once in a life time athlete that comes out even more than A. Luck, its like when big names like Jordan,Manning(Peyton), Bo Jackson all these athletes is what Manziel reminds me of. He’s gunna be top 5 QB in NFL for many years and I would even not care if they moved up to get him, I think what is going on is Spielman loves him and Zimmer don’t and if we pass on him its gunna be the dumbest thing since drafting Troy Williamson and the Hershel Walker trade.i hope Zimmer looks at this like I can make Manziel great and I’m gunna teach him to be the best NFL QB in the league. I just see Zimmer being stubborn and has already made his mind up on Manziel.

          • Justin Weishaar

            Its smoke man. Plain and simple. If he is here at 8. We take him. Sb champs are made on draft day.

          • jamed

            Well I hope so cause we can afford to not take him and then take some rapist and all his ” red flags”. 1500 ESPN radio also thinks that this is a screen he had a good article about this being a smoke screen. If you havnt read it you should its pretty good.

          • Justin Weishaar

            I already have. It was like the year we traded with the browns. Oh yaa we are taking claiborne. Not a lt. And then basically steal browns picks. Point is no one tells ya who they will or wont be drafting. Just interst. Zimmer had a long talk with his coach. An after interview and a full workout. Oh ya. We hate him

          • kyle

            There’s a difference between sexual assault and rape. If you’ve grabbed a girl’s ass against her will, you just committed sexual assault. Mettenberger made a mistake and the girl got a pay day. This is blown way out of proportion. The positives from him are that he has already played in a pro-style offense under Cam Cameron, plus size and plus arm.

  • jamed

    I say if “Minnesota Manziel” is there at 8 give it a whirl and take him the worst thing that could happen is he’s a bust and he sets us back a couple of years but were used to being let down in Minnesota. Or he could pan out and be an All Pro QB that is on ESPN top 10 highlights all the time. So I think “if” he falls to 8 take him just don’t trade up for him. Also if Mack happens to fall to 8 “unlikely” take him instead.

  • jamed

    Also I’m starting to wonder if Zimmer likes the spot light himself cause he been posted all over the place with his straight up to the point no non sense quotes. More than a lot of coaches.

    • kyle

      It’s draft season. He’s a first time head coach. He’s going to be at pro days with the press. What do you expect him to do? Ignore the press and not comment on how he felt the pro day went? This is a non-issue. Have you listened to him talk in any of his pressers since being named head coach? He knows what he’s doing and what kind of players he wants on his team. Zimmer is not Jim Harbaugh.

      • jamed

        Well there was a lot of new coaches lions,redskins,titans,browns and whoever else you don’t here there comments posted everywhere its cause Zimmer says things the press speculates on really what they think he says and turn into something its not. But why do you think its done only to Zimmer for saying stuff that the press eats up Because He Likes the Spot Light

        • kyle

          I think you’re reading too much into this. Why would he call Manziel’s pro day a side show if he himself liked the spot light? If he liked the spot light so much, do you think zimmer would’ve fit right in?

          Besides, off the top of my head, there are only 2 first time head coaches; Zimmer and Pettine (?) from the browns. The rest have had head coaching jobs before. The only head coach that loves the spot light in the NFL is Jim Harbaugh. Zimmer is a family man raised in Illinois with a good head on his shoulders. There is about a 3% chance Zimmer loves the spot light. I think you need to look at his previous press conferences when he first got hired and listen to him talk. You’re the only fan I’ve seen so far that thinks this way of Zimmer.

          • jamed

            No I really don’t think that I started it as a be funny comment I really don’t know harbaugh or Zimmer enough to tell anybody that’s who they are I said im starting to wonder. I think the way he talked about Manziel with the comments he said is not right. If he didn’t like it then keep it to himself cause the press turn them comments into something its not and as a first time coach he will have to learn this.

          • jamed

            Gruden in Washington

  • kyle

    No thanks. Rather have Bridgewater, Mettenberger (not til the 3rd round), Garopolo or even Carr. All these prospects (with the exception of Mettenberger) have no serious red flags like Manziel does. Carr has footwork issues and struggles under pressure, but what college quarterback doesn’t struggle with footwork? Carr really didn’t have much of an O-line in front of him either. Bridgewater is the only quarterback I would take at 8.

    • Justin Weishaar

      Carr has bad footwork. Poir decision skills and stares down wrs. We already have one of those. His name is ponder

      • kyle

        They are NOT the same quarterback. I don’t understand this comparison at all. Their college stats aren’t even remotely close. Are you judging Carr over the overmatched bowl game with USC or his entire college career? Carr has good accuracy from short, intermediate to deep. Most quarterbacks coming out of college have bad footwork. It’s inevitable. Having Turner on this staff (as well as his son, who is the QB’s coach) should alleviate some of these issues. Gone are the days of incompetent play calling and coaching. Let’s see what this kid can do with a proven OC. And don’t give me the “he’ll flame out like his brother did” B.S.. That’s the general perception on Carr. Houston’s O-line couldn’t block a dummy in practice let alone game day, shook David’s confidence and never got it back. Derek Carr is the real deal and could potentially be the best fit in Turner’s system.

  • Claire Bartell

    Please pass on him if Zimmer can’t get on board. Trying to make him into someone else would be stupid and counterproductive. What is special about Manziel is his swagger, confidence, talent, risk taking, and intelligence…if you can’t embrace it than pass on it.

  • Ryan Rud

    LB in the first…Aaron Murray in the second.

    • Ryan Johnson

      third at the earliest for murray

      • kyle

        Pretty sure Murray will be there in the 5th. Undersized, coming off an ACL injury will force his stock to plummet.

  • Ryan Rud

    But please stay away from Bridgewater

  • Michael Williams

    If maziel drops to 8 and we pass, that would be freakin stupid. dude is special talent! Please no mettenburger dude is a rapist with a torn acl among other serious red flags;!!!

  • Moi Shon Boudoir

    Let the guy go, and get a quarterback that better fit the system that we want to run. Go defense in the first round and take LB Mack if he is available or CB JUSTIN bother work be a better choice.

  • mike

    If Zimmer doesn’t like him that’s it. You don’t draft a qtb based on what the media says. I do feel he has possibilities but I also don’t like the ‘Broadway Joe’ aspect.