Saturday, August 1, 2015

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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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After taking on new responsibilities, one normally hopes to crush them. It’s exciting and fun to post as often as possible, especially in regards to the Vikings.

Unfortunately, an infection has sidelined me for the past two days and possibly a week or so longer. The painkillers are variable in their effectiveness, and when they work, they knock me out. When they don’t, I’m in far too much pain to write.

I should have surgery soon and hope to recover in time to write shortly after, but if you’re visiting the site and don’t see updates, that’s why. Hopefully I will be able to write in the mean time, but who knows?

At the very least, we can be lucky it happened during a dead time in football news.

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[NOTE FROM ADAM:  I’m all about encouraging new, young writers to take that leap of faith and put their work out there for everyone to see.  It can be an intimidating step to talk, as the internet isn’t always the nicest of places, but there is no better way to gain experience and to improve as a writer than to just do it.  Please join me in welcoming the newest Vikings voice:  Chris Serri.  Chris recently started a Twitter account for Vikings fans to interact with (@MN_VikingsFans) and we got to talking about him potentially contributing to VT.  Enjoy his first post!]

By Chris Serri

Earlier this morning, the public was informed that Jared Allen,  the former fan-favorite defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, was signed by the Chicaco Bears to a four-year deal, per the team’s official Twitter account. Prior to signing with the Bears, he had also visited with the Seahawks and the Cowboys. The overwhelming majority of Vikings fans, myself included, will dearly miss Jared Allen, as he was one of the faces of our franchise, and definitely was the personality of the team. Moreover, the fact that he is staying in the NFC North and playing for a rival of the Vikings will obviously sting. Two or three years ago, most fans could never have pictured Jared Allen going on to play for another team.

The question remains, however, whether or not we as fans should show anger or  resentment towards Allen. This situation is somewhat similar to the Greg Jennings’ departure from the Packers a year ago. Jennings wanted more money than the Packers were willing to offer, so he signed with the Vikings, the only other team to show significant interest in him. The situation is not completely similar though, as it was already widely assumed by most fans that he would be gone this season. The fact of the matter is that Jared Allen was not getting younger, and because of this, he wanted to move on and finish his carrer playing for a “contender.” Whether or not the Bears are truly contenders is debatable, however, it is important to realize that the Vikings have a young talented pass rusher in Everson Griffen with tremendous athletic ability, and resigning him made the decision to part ways with Allen much easier. Had we not been able to resign Griffen, we may have made a greater push to retain Allen.

At the end of the day, it was simply time for both sides to move on. The Vikings went into the offseason wanting to get younger, and there was simply no reason to pay a hefty ammount of change to Allen while his talented backup is here waiting to get his chance to  dominate. We had seen what Griffen is capable of throughout the past few years in limited action, and the Vikings knew that now, with Allen’s contract expiring, is as perfect a time as any for Griffen to step into a full-time role. There is no reason for fans to be angry with Allen. He gave our beloved Vikings several great years, especially in 2011, when he had 22 sacks. He did not end his Vikings career on bad terms with the team, as he simply wants to win a Super Bowl. Instead of being angry that he will be behind enemy lines, Vikings fans should rejoice and be glad that he gave us six tremendous years. He may not be with our team any longer, but Vikings fans will always have a place for Jared Allen in their hearts.

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Someone named Jared Allen signed with the Chicago Bears today to a four-year deal, worth $32,000,000. The structure of the deal is of course important with a player at Allen’s age (31), and it can be voided to a three-year, $24,000,000 deal. $15,500,000 is fully guaranteed—which comes from a base salary guaranteed fully in the first two years and a roster bonus he will receive next March.

On a per-year basis, this is a lower deal than the one he “missed out on” with the Denver Broncos when they offered him and DeMarcus Ware identical, $30,000,000 deals over three years, but it is similar amount of guaranteed money.

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Per Fox Sports North (via ESPN), Brian Hall reports that Mike Zimmer has decided to connect with Fran Tarkenton to discuss Johnny Manziel, one of the most polarizing quarterbacks of the NFL draft, and a serious candidate for the Vikings in the NFL draft.

Tarkenton has been saying for a couple of months now that he’s a fan of Manziel and that Manziel reminds Tark of himself. He reiterated those statements when asked by USA Today a month ago:

“Nobody really played like I played,” Tarkenton told USA Today earlier this month. “This kid plays like I did more than anybody else. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to myself. Russell Wilson has some of it. But Manziel has those similarities even more so than Russell.

“Manziel is a quarterback savant.”

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