Jan 1, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Central Florida Knights quarterback Blake Bortles (5) warms up prior to the game against the Baylor Bears during the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Noted NFL columnist Peter King has weighed in – no pun intended – on who he thinks the Vikings should draft to fill their quarterback need.
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Johnny Manziel. I’ll give you another hint: it’s not Teddy Bridgewater.
It’s the guy who, as everyone keeps saying, most “looks the part” of a franchise quarterback.
It’s the guy people keep saying would be a perfect fit for Norv Turner, noted admirer of big strapping QBs who aren’t necessarily the most mobile fellows in the world.
Yes, it’s Blake Bortles.
King is going with the argument that Bortles, for all his flaws, is the most sensible choice for the Vikings.
“I watch Blake Bortles on video, his accuracy and escapability and his occasionally questionable decision-making, and I can’t help but think of him as a Viking,” King writes on MMQB. “This is the kind of quarterback Minnesota offensive coordinator Norv Turner loves: an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than Troy Aikman, a lover of the pocket in an era of escape artists, a 66-percent lifetime passer in three years at Central Florida. I doubt he makes it to No. 8, but that’s the best fit for me for Bortles in the top 10.”
It all sounds so perfect and logical. The Vikings even have a veteran QB in place, Matt Cassel, in case Bortles needs to redshirt for a year.
But here’s the question King overlooks: The Vikings may be the best fit for Bortles, but is Bortles the best fit for Rick Spielman?
Norv Turner may be running the offense, but Rick Spielman is the man making the personnel decisions. And Spielman has his own agenda that is quite separate from Norv’s.
Norv wasn’t in Minnesota in 2011 when Spielman spent the #12 overall pick on Christian Ponder. He wasn’t there for all Ponder’s struggles. He wasn’t there for the Great QB Mess of 2013.
He doesn’t have all that Ponder stain on his resume. Spielman does.
Rightly or wrongly, if Spielman drafts a QB at #8 and that QB fails, it will be Spielman’s head on the chopping block, not Norv’s.
Spielman has to ask himself: Do I really want to stake everything on Blake Bortles?
Remember, Spielman did not want to stake everything on Christian Ponder either. He tried trading down in 2011, but was stuck picking at #12.
Believing that he had no choice but to take a QB, Spielman held his nose and drafted Ponder.
Spielman has had a lot of time to think about that fateful decision. And here’s what I think he’s probably concluded:
It isn’t worth it.
Even if you need a QB badly, it isn’t worth drafting one high unless you are 100% certain about the player in question. You’re better off trading back, or just waiting until a later round.
Bortles may be a good fit in Minnesota in Peter King’s eyes, but he’s not a slam dunk. He’s not Andrew Luck.
As King himself admits, it’s probably a moot point anyway, because Bortles will be gone before #8. Even if he’s there, I don’t think the Vikings take him.
If Spielman can move back significantly in the draft and still get Bortles? Then maybe it happens. It’s just as likely he will trade back and go defense, then trade up into the late first and get Derek Carr or Teddy Bridgewater.
Or wait until the second round and draft Zach Mettenberger. Or wait until the third day and draft Logan Thomas.
There are other QBs in this draft who look the part of a Norv Turner QB, who can be had without spending the #8 overall pick and taking on all the pressure and crap that comes with drafting a QB that high.
Rick Spielman has been through it, and I believe he’s made up his mind. No quarterback at 8. No way, no how. Not even a perfect Norv fit like Bortles.