NFL Draft 2014

Mike Zimmer Not Quite Sold on Johnny Manziel

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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Lindsey Young

Lindsey Young (Featured Columnist) is a graduate of University of Northwestern – St. Paul and is an avid Minnesota sports fan[atic]. It’s been argued females don’t know much about sports, but she begs to differ. Her work has been featured on Bleacher Report,, and Fox Sports North. In addition to her work with VT, Lindsey is a contributing writer for Canis Hoopus, runs a bi-monthly fan feature for and is a freelance writer for You can read her blog at Making the Call and follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Parcels Commandment to T. Romo – Don’t be a celebrity QB. Vikes may be smoke screening, but you Best believe Zimmer ain’t smoke screening when a potential 1st round pick is flaunting a rule from his mentor’s tablets.

  2. I don’t understand some of the Vikings fans. They say Ponder was drafted to early, but they want to draft this guy. He is a unknown. He is young. Sophomore in college, not a senior. He is small. He seems more interested in being a TV star than a qb. He has no pocket presence. He takes off and runs or gets sacked. He is not worth the rick of wasting 3 to 5 more years of AD’s career. I don’t want to find out 3 years from now the Vikings wasted another first round pick on a bust of a QB. All 3 of the top qb’s are not first or second round talent. Just because the Vikings fans a QB starved, doesn’t mean the Vikings should make a big mistake and draft a QB to early.

    1. Honestly I can take him or leave him but I do think he can be a franchise guy. But ponder was not talked about as a first rounder. It was absolutely a panic move. They needed a new QB. Manziel has been linked to the first overall. There’s no comparison. Ponder never played winning football in college at least for the FSU standard. Manziel has TA&M on top of Texas and beating Bama! Not liking the guy because he’s loud, in the news and not the prototype is fine. But even if he isn’t successful there is basically no comparison pre-draft.

  3. The one really ironic thing about all this is the guy that had all the attributes Zimmer is talking about as far as putting in the work and being a football guy, are the same things that got Ponder drafted in the first place. With that being said, I think we should take these comments with a grain of salt. I do think Zimmer is speaking the truth, but he’s just saying those are the things they needed answers about, not that Manziel didn’t pass the test. Off-hand, I don’t think Manziel is going to be their guy. Carr and McCarron are the guys that fit the combined mold of what they would be looking for in both football intelligence, dedication, and experience (I throw that in for the Parcells factor), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they went against the grain and took Johnny if they feel comfortable with him. We won’t know how they truly feel unless he’s on the board at #8.

  4. Norv Turner said Manziel was amazingly accurate.

    I will give Manziel credit for playing big in big moments. I like that about him.

    But, I think Zimmer is on the right track with his comments about Manziel. That’s what I like about Zimmer, he is a straight shooter. I am sure Zimmer’s questions have already been presented to Manziel.

    I just wish I could hear Manziel’s answer to this celebrity man question.

  5. The coach has to be able to say what he thinks and a celebrity hot shot QB would really be a problem. The last thing Zimmer wants with his first big opportunity is a punk QB whose gonna do it his way. right out of the gates. ..He’s likely gone by the time we pick. I hope Speilman does something spectacular again. Last year with Patterson was awesome. X man and the DT.

  6. You know I’ve gotten the sense he’s perfect for Zimmer. I mean why did Zimmer publicize going to talk to Fran? Bill Billicek doesn’t publicize the color of shirt he’s wearing. Zimmer may be more blue collar but you are underestimating Johnny if you don’t think he’s got the fire. Kids spent every off season in crazy camps, he eats and sleeps it. He’s super famous, and rich, so he’s going to get noticed. Lebron James was driving a hummer to high school and he has a fantastic work ethic.

    1. Hungover….Well, I do not KNOW that. That’s the rumor. Didn’t show up one day cause of a hangover and then they/him decided it best he just leave.

    1. Not sure Ponder could throw out the window. Well, if said window was open he would not throw it…then it would close and then he would take off running.

  7. Lets fact the facts ~ No matter who they have at QB the will be riding AP as the work horse all season long ~ And if they are going to do that then drafting a left OG in round 2 or 3 needs to be as much a must as some believe a QB in round 1 is ~

    I dont buy into the must draft a QB in round one this year ~ Not this high with this QB class ~ To many question marks for all of them ~ In fact I believe 2 of the top 3 fall out of the top 10 ~

    Fixing the defense (((I believe they are off to a good start after FA))) and making sure AP has holes to run through are the two most important things to do this year ~ Also something just as important as the left OG is finding a real backup now that Gerhart is gone ~ Someone who is a danger catching the ball out of the backfield too ~

    I believe this will be a odd year in the draft for the Vikings ~ They know their needs and will fill them when that player rates as the BPA in each round ~ If this draft is a deep and talented as all the sports people are talking about there is no reason to believe the Vikings can fins there QB after round one ~ Norv has talked about this ~ Guy who just need good coaching ~ Guys with big arms ~ When I read this I believed it because Norv and Zimmer are fixers and like to prove people wrong ~ And dont forget that Zimmer and Norv have both said that Ponder isn’t a after thought ~

  8. I see on drafttek they have a d back in the first round and a linebacker in the second for the Vikings. They also have Mettenberger taken later.

  9. I would not be surprised if the Vikings feel they have most of the D fixed in FA and the time for a QB is now and they trade up to get ________. I do not think Johnny F will be the name. Just saying. I know as much as anyone which is very little.

    1. Trading up is a waste of picks for a second or third round talent qb. All three of the top 3 qb’s are NOT first round talent.

      1. I agree. Trading up would be a huge mistake in this draft for a QB. Trading down is the way to go.

        1. the texans are willing to let us have their no. 1 pick for our 8 and ponder. they love QBs with masters degrees in texas

    2. Defense would be nice, I just hate to see them pull the trigger on a QB in the 1st round again…

  10. great news! the kardashiens have released their newest perfume scent – Sweet Viking Sweat!

    it is rumored that they personally harvested the initial ingredients for this latest scent from actual vikings players’ most intimate crevices and skin folds for mass reproduction in their very successful perfume line

    get ’em while they’re hot!