Manziel can solidify NFL opinions at pro day

Johnny Manziel (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY)

Johnny Manziel will be throwing in front of NFL coaches and scouts for the first time since his college career ended. It will be a chance for the quarterback to either change or solidify NFL opinions on what he could be at the next level.

Thursday may be one of the more important days in the history of the Vikings moving forward. Drafting a franchise quarterback is a hallmark moment for a franchise.

Johnny Manziel is having his Pro Day workout today with his Texas A&M teammates and, more and more, his size limitations are becoming a media issue. The same was said about guys like Joe Montana and Brees. The same was said about dozens of other quarterbacks who became trivia answers.

The advantage Manziel has is that his passing drills will likely include wide receiver Mike Evans, whose name has been thrown out as a top-10 selection himself. Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater didn't have an elite teammate running under their passes. Manziel will and, all expectations are, that when the bright lights and live look-ins are being reported, he has the chance to control his own draft destiny.

Drafting a quarterback in the first round, especially in the top 10 picks, is a franchise roll of the dice. Throwing Snake Eyes or Box Cars can set a franchise back for years. There's something about using a first-round pick on a quarterback that makes the pressure to succeed grow the higher up the pick is.

Was Michael Vick worthy of Atlanta trading for to get the No. 1 pick? Not even close. San Diego was able to draft two Hall of Famers – LaDanian Tomlinson and Drew Brees – by trading out of the top spot.

Was Eli Manning worthy of the No. 1 pick? Happily married teammates had to have two rings sized for different fingers. Yeah. That worked out pretty well, despite some ups and downs. The ups were great.

The last time a team took a QB at No. 8 in the draft (Ryan Tannehill), that team (Miami) hired the head coach of his college team (Mike Sherman, ironically from Texas A&M) as his professional head coach. Tannehill remains in Miami. Sherman didn't.

Selecting a quarterback with the No. 8 pick is a question mark. He remained until No. 8 for a reason – seven teams said "no."

There is a mixed bag of opinions on Manziel's pro day. If he tears it up, he's gone before the Vikings can even consider picking him. If not, he's a wild card pick.

Johnny Manziel is going to make millions of dollars to be an NFL player. The question is how many millions and how many guaranteed millions? That may be finalized today. In the process, the Vikings could be finalizing their decision on whether to draft or pass on Johnny Football.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • Add Sports Illustrated to the growing chorus of draft prognosticators linking the Vikings with Johnny Manziel. In its latest mock draft, SI added its educated guess to the growing wave that has it that Bortles will be the first QB to go in the draft, followed by Bridgewater and Manziel.

  • Word out of Cleveland is that the Browns have already scheduled private workouts with both Bridgewater and Manziel, solidifying the standard opinion that the Browns are going to take a quarterback with the fourth pick of the draft. That point was hammered home when the Browns released both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.

  • According to media reports out of Oakland, the Raiders offered Jared Allen a contract that would have paid him $9 million a year and provided more in terms of guaranteed money, as opposed to the $8 million annual average and $15.5 million in guarantees that Allen received from Chicago to sign with the Bears.

  • In a side note on the Allen signing, he reportedly spurned the Oakland offer due to questions over the quarterback situation. He apparently had more faith in Jay Cutler than anyone Oakland would have in the lineup the next two years – the realistic term of Allen's contract.

  • Just as the Packers had no right to have angry fans when Brett Favre signed with the Vikings – they traded him away to the Jets with the expressed condition that they couldn't trade him to Minnesota – Vikings fans can't be angry with Allen for going to the division rival Bears. In the last couple months of the 2013 season, Allen seemed resigned to the fact that he and the Vikings were parting ways. He's being paid half of what he was paid in 2013 and the handwriting was on the wall. Both Allen and the Vikings seemed ready to move on without each other. NFL players have a short shelf life and need to make what they can when they can to support their families long after their playing days are over.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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