Peter King is one of the most respected journalists in the NFL, and if you're a fan of the sport, his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback over at SI.com is a must read. He has a column coming out at five AM that goes in depth about the Vikings, and their pursuit of a quarterback on draft night.
As we all know, the Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater, but there was a lot of speculation that the Vikings really wanted Johnny Manziel. It was tweeted out by Jay Glazer that the Vikings were working a trade with the Eagles, when the Browns jumped in at the last minute. There's just as much speculation that the Vikings were trying to trade for Bridgewater, not Manziel, and that Minnesota had the two rated essentially 1 and 1A.
Vikings thrilled to get Bridgewater but confirmed that Manziel WAS their #1 qb and they did try to go up and get him— bob holtzman (@BobHoltzmanESPN) May 9, 2014
King had some compelling tweets earlier tonight that makes one believe that the Vikings, and in particular Mike Zimmer, preferred Manziel:
I just filed one fun column on the 22nd pick in the draft. Four teams made offers. Went down to the wire. Why'd Cleveland win? Read at 5 am.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) May 13, 2014
Tues column. Cool. Mike Zimmer to Manziel pre-draft: "I've been waiting all my life for this chance. Can I trust you?" Read the rest in AM.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) May 13, 2014
I really like MIke Zimmer. He wanted so badly to believe in Manziel. But what a price Vikes would have had to pay to get him.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) May 13, 2014
I can't argue with Spielman. Paid a fraction for Bridgewater than Manziel would have cost. Who know which QB will be better in three years?— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) May 13, 2014
Hmmm, let's look at this. At this point, it seems moot to me that the Vikings were going for Manziel or Bridgewater. Like I said earlier, it was a head versus heart decision for me, and I am ecstatic that they got one of them. And if Zimmer really did believe in Manziel that much, like it's insinuated (and I don't know if that's the case--at the time of this writing his column hasn't been published), they could have drafted him at eight and been done with it. Or still done the deal with Cleveland, and taken him at nine. But they didn't. So there was organizational doubt there about Manziel, regardless of what people say.
But as I read and re-read these tweets, you can talk yourself into believing that the Vikings thought long and hard about Manziel, but decided that with the two players so close, it wasn't worth it, and were very content with Bridgewater. When Zimmer talks about waiting for his whole life for that moment, he must mean a shot at head coaching, and at the end of the day he couldn't go all in with Manziel, so the Vikings went with Bridgewater.
So here's my deal: there's going to be a lot of digital ink spilled over this King column, so keep this over riding principle in mind:
It doesn't matter anymore. Not a hill of beans.
It'll be an interesting read, and a nice peek behind the scenes of the Vikings war room. Peter King is a fantastic writer, and will make it a compelling page turner. But as the dust settles, these are the two big takeaways from the draft night drama. Block out all the other noise, and keep these two things in mind:
1) Philadelphia probably wasn't going to make the trade with the Vikings as long as the Browns had serious interest. And I'm glad it didn't happen. The drop out of the first round and into the second round was too far for Philadelphia, but more importantly, the Vikings would have paid a steep price. As it stands, Minnesota got Teddy Bridgewater, essentially, for a fourth round pick, and were able to keep both third round picks.
Folks, that's grand larceny, in many respects. For the best quarterback in the draft.
2) The Vikings loved both guys, and they got one of them. They weren't going to get both, that would've been stupid. They could have not gotten either; that would have been disastrous when you look at the options after Bridgewater and Manziel. No offense to Jimmy Garoppolo or Tom Savage, the next two highest rated QB's on the Vikings board...but how would you be feeling right now if we had Barr and Garoppolo, or Barr and Savage?
I thought so.
The Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater, just let that roll over the tongue, like a nice, well aged bourbon. Bridgewater, they have rated as good as Manziel, mind you...for a faction of the cost it would've taken to get Johnathan F. Gridiron.
The Vikings got one of the two quarterbacks they were targeting, and didn't mortgage future drafts...or the rest of the 2014 draft...to make it happen. Everything else is just noise.