Nov 9, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger (8) reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 38-17. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Red Flags Pop Up for Zach Mettenberger


It’s NFL Draft Eve, and by now you would think we’d hear everything we’re going to hear on potential prospects.

Well, that isn’t the case for LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. And the news isn’t good.

On Monday, it was reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports that Mettenberger was one of ten prospects who failed their drug test at the NFL Combine. While Mettenberger’s test did not test positive for any substances, it was considered “diluted,” which constitutes a failed test per the NFL’s policy.

Mettenberger’s agent, Joe Linta, said Mettenberger’s diluted test was caused by excessive hydration. Linta said Mettenberger was asked to drink around a gallon of water of day to help deal with cramping related to the knee he had surgery on this offseason. Linta has provided medical documentation to the NFL’s league adviser for drugs of abuse, alcohol, and HIV, but the failed test has  yet to be rescinded.

If the test is not rescinded, Mettenberger will have to begin his NFL career enrolled in the NFL’s substance abuse program.

The news may not bode well for Mettenberger if teams don’t buy his agent’s story, because failing the Combine drug test is a major red flag for a prospect. Since each NFL Draft prospect knows there will be a drug test at the Combine, one would think it would be pretty easy for these players to plan ahead and stop using drugs, even just in the month(s) leading up to the test.

It’s unknown if the Vikings interest in Mettenberger will change due to the test results. Mettenberger seems to fit the prototype for a Norv Turner quarterback, as he has great size and a very strong arm. Mettenberger also ran an offensive system extremely similar to Turner’s in college, and excelled in it.

Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News picked Mettenberger as one of three quarterbacks he thought the Vikings could end up with just at the beginning of this week.

But new information just coming to public attention could have shifted the Vikings draft board.

Mettenberger also has a back issue that some teams have flagged, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Mettenberger has a back issue called spondylolysis that could affect his long term durability in the NFL, even though his back does not require surgery.

Mettenberger’s former athletic trainer at LSU, Jack Marucci, denies the quarterback’s back will be an issue in the NFL though.

“Did it flare up in his career? Yes. We would treat it and then it would be fine,” Marucci told NFL.com. “This shouldn’t be a big deal as long as you treat it, we did some core stabilization. His senior year, we didn’t even talk about it.”

Marucci said Mettenberger’s back became less of an issue once offensive coordinator Cam Cameron fixed up his mechanics before his senior season.

Of course, it’s possible that both these flags turn out to be a non-issue once Mettenberger reaches the NFL. The NFL could still rescind the failed drug test and maybe a team’s athletic trainer will come to the same conclusion Marucci did and consider Mettenberger’s back a non-issue. The injury story itself could just be a team trying to drop Mettenberger’s stock at the last minute, in the hopes to pick him up at a more favorable draft slot.

But for a guy who already has red flags after pleading guilty to sexual battery in 2010, stories like this a few days before the draft have to stress Mettenberger’s camp out.

Will it prevent him from being a Vikings? That remains to be seen.

What do you think Vikings fans? Have you been scared off Mettenberger? Or do you accept his agent’s’ explanation and Marucci’s point of view and think the flags are a non-issue? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @Goatman102!

Tags: Featured Popular Vikings Zach Mettenberger

  • Eye Ball

    If the vikes can get him in the 2nd round, then yes, they must take a chance on Zack! I think Norv Turner and Mike Zimmer can manage the guy, and hey, he may not even end up being an off the field or on the field problem anyway. I hope they take a chance on him

    • Bob E.

      Zack is 2nd round material anyways… this drop him to 3rd.

  • Eddie

    Vikes will take LB Ryan Shazier in first round (Hopefully) trading down some. Then look to move up and select QB. Thing is those teams sitting in the 20′s might be getting ransom to move back in….u r paying for a 5th year option. This draft is to good, don’t wanna give up to much. Get Bradford or Mallet or something next yr. Draft like Savage this year late 3rd.

  • MikeH123

    Besides drug and back problems, Mettenberger is also coming off a torn ACL late in the season.

  • Turdd Ferguson

    Take Zach, Jimmy, or even AJ, anyone but Carr. Carr is Ponder Beta, he doesn’t even constitute an upgrade.

  • 3kolu

    I wasn’t sold on Mettenberger anyway, but I still like his upside if he can clear the drug test and physical. And, Carr is definitely not another Ponder. He’s just as athletic and inteligent as Ponder but he’s also tougher and has a much stronger arm than Ponder.

    • Turdd Ferguson

      I normally agree with you, on the Carr topic though, we are of 2 different worlds. Watching film of Carr, a majority of his passes are behind the line of scrimmage…. sound familiar? And I don’t mean to be getting down on Ponder, because the kid did a lot of good things, it’s just the bad seemed to outweigh the good. I’d much rather give Ponder another shot than to waste a draft pick on his clone.

      • 3kolu

        Actually that’s incorrect, a majority of passes were of the short variety that includes passes behind the LOS. And, with a player like Cordarrelle Patterson and a commitment to getting AP involved in the passing game that’s not a bad thing. It keeps defenses honest and it can open up the deep routes. The significant differences between Ponder and Carr is in YPA, td/int ratio, comp pct, QB rating, number of attempts and completions and the type of throws Carr can make that Ponder can’t, huge discrepancies! Carr is much more polished than CP was when he came out of FSU.

        • Turdd Ferguson

          A wise man once said, a polished turd is still a turd.

          • 3kolu

            I hope that’s not “Turdd” LOL