Minnesota Vikings 2014 NFL Draft Fact or Fiction

Mike Nelson@Mike_E_NelsonCorrespondent IApril 10, 2014

Minnesota Vikings 2014 NFL Draft Fact or Fiction

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    Given their top-10 pick in the 2014 NFL draft and their long-term void at the quarterback position, the Minnesota Vikings are one of the more intriguing teams leading up to the draft May 8. 

    As the combine, free agency and individual pro days have passed, more and more rumors about the Vikings have circulated throughout the media. 

    The purpose of this slideshow is to address five of the rumors or reports that have surfaced relative to the Vikings and their plans for the draft. 

    The five topics of this slideshow could relate to personnel affiliated with the Vikings or what media members have said about Minnesota's draft plans or prospects (whether that be related to particular players or draft approach). 

    There isn't any particular order to the rumors or reports with regards to importance.

There Is No Interest in Johnny Manziel

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    In an interview with Bleacher ReportTFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline claimed the Vikings have no interest in Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. 

    Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is on the record as saying there are "flags" surrounding Manziel and his future in the NFL, as per 104.9 The Horn (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). 

    That suggests to many that the Vikings will be hesitant to draft Manziel should he be available with the No. 8 selection. 

    Then again, this is the NFL draft, which means teams will want to create deception with regards to what their plans are.

    As Patrick Reusse of 1500 ESPN notes, Zimmer's outspoken demeanor toward Manziel could be his way of trying to demonstrate little interest in Manziel merely to cover up his crush on the Heisman trophy winner. 

    Then, there is Pauline's report. 

    It's tough to believe an organization in dire need of a franchise quarterback would have zero interest in a prospect of Manziel's stature. He is a polarizing figure, but it's tough to shrug off his accomplishments in college when evaluating him as a future pro. 

    It's easy to see the franchise possibly having no interest in Manziel at No. 8, but for the Vikings to have no interest in Manziel period—I'm not buying it. Not saying he'll end up a Viking, but he's on Minnesota's radar.

    Fact or fiction: Fiction

The Vikings Do Not Want a Quarterback at No. 8

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    As Scout's Inc.'s Todd McShay (subscription required) notes in this mock draft, it's entirely possible the Vikings have no interest in drafting a quarterback with the No. 8 selection. 

    McShay, in that post, believes the Vikings will take the "best" player available with their first pick.

    With sizable needs at linebacker (where just one starter from the 2013 opener is likely to return) and in the secondary (a unit that allowed the second-most passing yards per game), it's far from crazy to think the Vikings won't go defense with that first selection.

    But, it's also difficult to ignore the lack of a long-term solution at quarterback with Christian Ponder (the No. 12 pick in the 2011 draft who has struggled through three seasons) and soon-to-be 32-year-old Matt Cassel as the two lone signal-callers on the roster. 

    It all comes down to how the Vikings feel about this class of quarterbacks. 

    Given the large long-term void at the position, it's tough to believe the Vikings are sold on avoiding a quarterback at No. 8. 

    They are, of course, planning for scenarios in which the quarterback prospects they like and provide good value at No. 8 are available and gone, but unless they absolutely hate the entire class of quarterbacks, it'd be foolish to rule out selecting a quarterback first. 

    Fact or fiction: Fiction

Rick Spielman Wants to Trade out of the No. 8 Pick

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    Very early in the offseason process, Rick Spielman made one thing clear: He desires to possess 10 selections in the draft. 

    "We have eight right now," Spielman told Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune in February, "and a lot of that (movement) doesn’t happen until you’re on the clock.” 

    But he also said it was too early to know how those additional picks would be accumulated or if they needed to be.

    Once we home (sic) on specific traits we’re looking for at that position and we say, ‘These are three guys that we are really want,’ I’ll have a pretty good indication of where we’ll be able to get those guys at what point in the draft, but all that will play itself out.

    Given the voids in the linebacking corps, secondary, offensive line, defensive line and the backfield, it's not crazy for the Vikings to trade back and acquire more picks, if they feel there's good value to be had in the middle to later parts of the first round. 

    In fact, it's very easy to imagine that as Spielman and Co.'s plan heading into the draft. 

    But, as Spielman said, it's tough to predict how the draft will play out.

    If the draft plays out the way Spielman wants, it's tough to see him not wanting to trade out of No. 8 and further down in the first round. 

    Fact or fiction: Fact 

Derek Carr Is on the Vikings' Radar at No. 8

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    Derek Carr is a controversial prospect. 

    Depending on whom you poll, he's one of the top quarterbacks in this class or is among that second tier that will be selected in the second or third round (no one seems to be much lower on him than that). 

    Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner, taken at his word, appears to be part of the former group. 

    "Obviously, he was very impressive today," Turner told The Associated Press (via ESPN) after watching Carr's pro day. "He came out and showed he has a strong arm, very accurate, he made all the throws. He had a heck of a workout."

    CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan is another member. He has the Vikings selecting Carr with the No. 8 pick in the draft and suggests they may have to trade up to do that: 

    "The Vikings won't take just any quarterback at this spot in the draft for Norv Turner's offense. If Carr is available he makes the most sense. Minnesota may have to jump over Oakland to get him."

    Listening to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller talk about Carr's confidence and arm strength in the above video, it's tough to dispute that the Vikings should be watching Carr very, very closely (regardless of if you want them to select him at No. 8). 

    This slide is assessing whether the Vikings are considering Carr with the No. 8 pick.

    Given the huge long-term void at the quarterback position and high praises from the likes of Miller, Kirwan, Turner and other respected members of the NFL community, the Vikings are well aware of the pros and cons of Carr and are absolutely evaluating him as a possibility at No. 8. But that doesn't mean they will select him. 

    Fact or fiction: Fact

The Vikings Will Deal Draft Picks for a Veteran Quarterback

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    Veteran is a slightly misleading word for this slide. 

    By veteran, I merely mean a quarterback with NFL experience. 

    Some of the names that have been floated as a possibility for the Vikings are relatively young quarterbacks. 

    New England's Ryan Mallett (25 years old) and Washington's Kirk Cousins (25) are two hot names, and at their age, they are in position to become a team's franchise signal-caller for the next 10 seasons. 

    Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he plans to have Cousins on his team in 2014, as per Mike Jones of the Washington Post (via Josh Sanchez of Audibles), and New England, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston notes, may be better off retaining Mallett for 2014 and in the hope he plays well in the preseason to generate more value. 

    The Vikings, meanwhile, re-signed Cassel and still have Ponder for one more season. Do they want to take a chance on Cousins or Mallett, who have just had glimpses of success in the NFL, or should they take a flier on a quarterback in the 2014 draft to compete with Ponder and Cassel?

    Given the Redskins may want a second-round pick (or more) for Cousins and that Mallett's value may not be high enough to entice New England to trade, it's tough to see either ending up in Minnesota, as ESPN's Ben Goessling addressed in February. 

    Fact or fiction: Fiction