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Peter King Clarifies What Happened On Draft Night

Jason Miller

So, a bit ago, Ted talked about a semi-cryptic series of tweets from Peter King about what happened on draft night when the Minnesota Vikings attempted to move up in order to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel. Just a minute or two ago, King's Tuesday Mailbag went up over at his site, The MMQB, and it clarifies a couple of things.

The article contains a couple of interesting notes that shed a little light on everything that happened on Thursday night.

First off, the Browns and Vikings weren't the only two teams that were gunning for the #22 pick, held by the Philadelphia Eagles. As a matter of fact. . .

Though it was reported by Jay Glazer that the Vikings and Browns jousted for the 22nd pick (absolutely true), they were not alone. The source said that another team, not Minnesota, was the leader in the clubhouse when Eagles GM Howie Roseman told Cleveland GM Ray Farmer with three minutes left in the 10-minute draft period that he had to make a better offer than the one Cleveland had on the table.

So, the Vikings did not get outbid by the Cleveland Browns. . .they got outbid by the Browns and one other team. And the "other team" wasn't even looking to trade up for Manziel. So even if the Browns hadn't jumped to #22, it isn't a foregone conclusion that the Vikings would have gotten that pick. The anonymous team could have been a team selecting anywhere between #23 and #39, all of whom could have traded up for a lower price (theoretically) than it would have cost the Vikings to go from #40 to #22.

The other part of that is the conclusion:

The finish line: Cleveland won. The anonymous team seeking a player other than Manziel finished second. Minnesota was third-obviously because the Vikings didn't want to include the 2015 first-round pick. (I don't blame them.) The Eagles would have likely made that trade knowing the three or four players they liked at 22 would have been gone at 40. And another anonymous team finished fourth.

Quite simply, the price that the Eagles could have extracted from the Vikings to move from #22 all the way down to #40 was a heck of a lot greater than the one they wound up extracting from the Browns to move down to #26. Do any of you folks want Rick Spielman giving up future first-round draft choices? Because I sure as heck don't. Spielman's managed to draft seven first-rounders in the past three drafts, and he's done all of it without having to give up any future capital. I hope that trend continues.

Now, about the Zimmer quote regarding Manziel. Here's what King has to say about that:

When the Vikings spent private time with Manziel before the draft at dinner, coach Mike Zimmer was pointed and blunt (which is exactly what Zimmer is) with Manziel. At one point, Zimmer said to Manziel, "I've been waiting all my life for this chance. Can I trust you?'' Manziel said yes. Manziel told Zimmer they would win Super Bowls together. Zimmer loved it. Zimmer wasn't sure whether he trusted him totally, but he loved it, and he loved the confidence.

Zimmer is clearly talking about the opportunity to be a National Football League head coach, something that he waited a heck of a long time for. And he knows that, more than any other position, his future success (read: employment) is tied to the quarterback position. He didn't want to go into his first season as an NFL head coach with a guy he didn't have complete and total confidence in at that spot.

It would appear, then, that Zimmer being a bit annoyed about Manziel's Pro Day was either a) part of the pre-draft smokescreen process to try to get teams to believe the Vikings weren't interested in Manziel, or b) a legitimate complaint that disappeared when the team was able to sit down and have some one-on-one time with him. Will we ever know? Probably not. . .and that's the way it should be.

In either case, the Vikings wound up not getting Johnny Manziel, to the chagrin of some and to the delight of others, because the price would have been too high. They had to "settle" for Teddy Bridgewater, a guy that was considered the top quarterback in this class and a top 5 overall prospect prior to the ridiculousness of the pre-draft process.

We should all have to "settle" in such a manner.