Friday, July 31, 2015

Monthly Archives: March 2014

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According to a recent post by Star Tribune, new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer saw some “flags” in conjunction with Johnny Manziel.

The Texas A&M quarterback had his Pro Day on Thursday, and it was definitely one of a kind. More than one critic has described Manziel’s performance as more of a performance than an evaluation, and the event proved that the QB is more than readyat least in his own opinion—to transition into the pro lifestyle. Manziel’s Pro Day “routine” was complete with music and pre-arranged plays to showcase the QB’s talent.

Glitter aside, Manziel did perform well from a football standpoint. Jackson head coach Gus Bradley said, “it was good. It was a really competitive atmosphere. They had different drills set up for him, and that showcases what Johnny is all about. You knew it was going to be spirited, you knew it was going to be competitive-type throws that he had to make. And he really did a nice job.”

So what were the stats?

Manziel completed 61-of-64 passes.

He threw several deep passes of 40 yards and more to his targets… including a 55-yard deep post touchdown to fellow prospect Mike Evans.

Solid numbers or not, though, Zimmer didn’t seem impressed. In fact, he quickly called the performance a “sideshow.”  “This [workout] was a little different in how it was choreographed. People like that or they don’t like that, I don’t know,” Zimmer commented.

On Friday, Zimmer and the Vikings had a meeting with Manziel, their second of the offseason.

In a radio interview in Austin Monday morning, Zimmer said the following:

“I guess it maybe brings a few questions marks in. Is he going to conform to typically what the NFL is or what everyone else has done before him including what the great players in the game have done before him, or is he going to try to be the celebrity man guy that he was maybe a year-and-a-half ago?

[…] The position of quarterback in the NFL is such an important position and the reason these guys need to be a totally football-minded guy is the pressure of the position and being the face of an NFL team and doing everything right. That’s the thing you want to know about him: Will he be into work early every single day? Will be the last to leave? Will he be the guy that is working the hardest to get better?”

Whoever drafts Manziel will certainly draft the limelight right along with him.

Johnny Football may very well be off the table by the time the Vikings pick at No. 8. But if he’s not, will Zimmer want to take the leap?

 

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With the rush of free agency over (sort of), new rumors website (which as far as I can tell, is excellently run) NFLTradeRumors.Co reports via the NFLPA that the Vikings have $11,384,009 in cap space.

The NFLPA does have completely accurate information, but as NFLTradeRumors.Co indicates, it is not necessarily up-to-date. Others may have more up-to-date information but it isn’t necessarily accurate, as it usually relies on second-hand reports of contracts and structures. The NFLPA will also be off at times because of the post-season incentives charges to the cap.

As a result, there are different cap reports, from different groups.

Mark Craig of the Startribune doesn’t seem to think the Vikings need to rush things at the running back position. But, with Toby Gerhart gone and Matt Asiata as the next man up, I’m just a dainty bit concerned. My curiosity as to what GM Rick Spielman might have up his sleeve pertaining to the backup tailback position has got the best of me. In Craig’s recent article, he shares an interesting quote from Spielman about the possibility of adding another ball carrier.

“I know you can’t go into the season with just two running backs,” Spielman said. “So that’s an area that we’ve talked about a couple of running backs that are currently out on the market. But we’ve also honed in on a couple of backs in the draft as well.”

 

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The details of the Jared Allen deal leaked out not too long ago, and he (along with his agent, Ken Harris of Optimum Sports Management) seems to have structured the deal in a way that’s extremely optimistic about his likelihood of landing a new contract.

In many ways, it’s a “team-friendly” deal. The first two years are fully guaranteed, and he only has a base salary of $3,000,000 in the first year. After that, his base salary drops to $1,000,000 but he has a fully guaranteed roster bonus of $11,500,000. In effect, they’ll have him for two years at $16,500,000 but bear the brunt of the cap hit in the second year.

Jared really hurt himself with this deal.

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[NOTE FROM ARIF: As you may recall, Chris Serri just recently initiated his internet career with a guest post about Jared Allen.  He’s at it again, this time about something a tic more controversial. Be sure to follow his Twitter account (@MN_VikingsFans) and enjoy!

If you’re interested in putting together a guest post, feel free to contact us on Twitter with either our official account (@vikingterritory) or my account ( @ArifHasanNFL). You can also email me at arifmhasan (at) gmail DOT com.]

By Chris Serri

Johnny Manziel’s pro day was today, and the consensus seems to be that he had a fantastic performance. While the importance of a prospect’s pro day is debatable, it is still something that will factor into a team’s decision on whether or not to select an individual when the draft rolls around. The purpose of this article isn’t to analyze Manziel’s pro day, rather, it is to discuss whether the Vikings should take a chance on Manziel if he’s available when it is time for the Vikings to select with the eighth pick in the draft. 

Johnny Manziel has been one of college football’s most electrifying players in his two years at Texas A&M. He is one of those players that simply just finds a way to make good things happen on the football field. His arm strength has come into question recently by some, however, after watching his film, I firmly believe that his arm strength is comparable to that of any other quarterback in this draft class. Not only does Manziel have an NFL-capable arm, but he has also been a tremendous leader to the team on the field. Manziel followed up on his Heismann-winning freshman season with another magnificent season. He threw for 4114 yards with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. One particularly impressive aspect of Manziel’s game last season was his accuracy. In 2013, Manziel completed 69.9% of his passes, improving on his completion percentage of 68.0% the previous season. In addition to his impressive accuracy, Manziel also seemed to mature more as a passer in his second season, as he ran less often and made a greater attempt to stay in the pocket and get the ball to the open man. 

Manziel’s 759 rushing yards were significantly less than his 1410 yards in his freshman season, however, he was still  an effective dual-threat quarterback and was the team’s leading rusher. His quickness, burst, and agility are qualities that make him the threat that he is. He consistently finds ways to extend plays using his legs, and has a knack for  making defenders miss. When you combine that with his ability to make all the throws, and you get a very impressive quarterback prospect. There will certainly be teams in this year’s draft who want him, but should the Vikings be one of those teams? 

While Manziel possesses all the necessary tools to become a very good NFL starter, there are several question marks surrounding him, including his size, decision making, and his off-field lifestyle. Personally, I am not extraordinarily concerned with Manziel’s height. While he is shorter than the average quarterback, we have seen that short quarterbacks can succeed in football, with Russell Wilson being the primary example. If a guy has starter-talent, is a good leader, and has a natural ability to improvise on play, then why should his height be a major worry for teams?

Manziel’s decision making is another concern. While his ability to improvise and extend plays has often been quite impressive, it has also been problematic for him, as it has often led him to force passes in to tight coverage, leading to interceptions. There were several instances where he would hold onto the football for far too long and failed to simply get the ball to a check-down as opposed to forcing up bad throws in hopes of his receivers finding a way to make a play. 

The final concerns for Manziel are his his off-field behavior and character. His partying has been well-documented, and it is obvious to see why this would pose as a major concern for teams possibly interested in in drafting Manziel, as no team wants to draft a player who will be a liability. While Manziel has received a heavy amount of criticism for his partying, he has repeatedly said that his focus is on football. In addition to his partying, Manziel has also been accused of receiving money for signing autographs. While this issue is now water under the bridge, it still affects the perception of his character. Overall, however, these are issues that can be worked on, especially with a no-nonsense coach like Mike Zimmer.

If the Vikings are to draft a quarterback in the first round of this year’s draft, I think Johnny  Manziel would be a fine option, if available. He has tremendous upside, and is a major dual-threat quarterback. He is comparable to Fran Tarkenton, given his amazing scrambling ability. When you pair his quickness and agility with his throwing ability, it is incredibly difficult to pass him up at #8. While there are questions surrounding him, including whether or not he fits Norv Turner’s offense, I think drafting him would be a great decision. If his playing style does not completely fit Turner’s scheme, than Turner will surely find a way to adjust his scheme to fit Manziel’s game. Manziel has the potential to become a star in the NFL, and I believe the Vikings should definitely take a chance.

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