ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr. released version 3.0 of his mock draft on Thursday, and it has a selection that I know that many folks here will be quite happy with.
Kiper has Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel falling into Minnesota's lap with the #8 overall pick. Interestingly enough, he does not have a quarterback going in the top three selections, despite the fact that two of the top three teams (the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars) are going to be in the quarterback business at some point during the 2014 NFL Draft. He doesn't do any trades, either, and a team moving up to the #2 slot with the St. Louis Rams is a definite possibility.
Here's what he has to say about the Manziel selection.
As I talk to teams, I get the sense there's a great deal of uncertainty around the quarterbacks in this draft. But there's a point where uncertainty turns into a reasonable bet, and Manziel at this point on the board is closer to the latter. There are some decent weapons in place in Minnesota for Manziel. There's a great deal of uncertainty on the defensive side of the ball here, but it doesn't outweigh the questions at QB. Manziel could be the solution and, drafted here, there's no question he'd come in with a chip on his shoulder.
With the Vikings focusing heavily on defense in free agency thus far, they might still be looking to take a quarterback high in the 2014 Draft. If the draft falls the way that Kiper has it falling and one of the "Big Three" quarterbacks does fall to Minnesota, I think that Rick Spielman would be hard-pressed to not pull the trigger on it, even if it meant that Manziel would start out sitting behind Matt Cassel.
I'm not totally sure how I feel about the Manziel pick. From an entertainment perspective, it would be top-notch, to be sure. I don't think Johnny Manziel is one of those guys that's going to develop into an "average" NFL quarterback. . .he's either going to be spectacular or he's going to be a disaster. Not a whole lot of middle ground. Hopefully, if the Vikings were to bring him in, they'd get more "YAY" and less "ugh."
There are still about eight more weeks until draft day, and a lot can happen before then. But that's what Mel Kiper thinks for now.