2014 NFL Draft: Should Minnesota Vikings Reach for QB With 8th Pick?

By Rick Stavig
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings need a franchise quarterback.  They haven’t had one since Daunte Culpepper took his talents to South Beach in 2006, and haven’t truly had one since Fran Tarkenton retired in 1978.

Should the Vikings use the 8th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on a quarterback?

I think they should, but they shouldn’t. Huh? If there was a franchise quarterback worth taking with that pick, I think they should take him.  But I don’t think there will be a franchise quarterback worth taking with that pick, thus leading to my stance that they shouldn’t use the pick on a quarterback.

Ya see, in my opinion, and at this still very early stage in the draft process, there’s only two quarterbacks worth taking in the top half of round one: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), and both of them will be long gone by the time the Vikes are on the clock.

Yes, there’s countless fans of Blake Bortles (UCF) and Derek Carr (Fresno State), and you can count me among them. But I really don’t like the idea of vastly reaching for a quarterback in a weak class, just because there’s so many other QB-needy teams all around them.

Looks, sounds and feels eerily similar to the situation in 2011, when Minnesota, due to the league market in a weak QB class, took Christian Ponder a round too early, and the results speak for themselves.  And it could come to that again, just because of the market value on Bortles and Carr.

Would it be the end of the world if they selected either Bortles or Carr with this pick?  Absolutley not, because either one of them could turn out to be the next big thing.

Bortles is a very impressive athlete with a thick frame (6-foot 4, 230-pounds), decent mobility and a cannon for an arm.  Still, he’s incredibly raw at this stage in development, and reminds me an awful lot of Jake Locker.  Carr had a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl last week and really helped his draft stock, but questions remain about his touch on deep balls, his mechanics, and like Bortles, faces a big jump in competition level.

The point is, I like both of these prospects, just not in the top-10.  And that opinion could very well change between now and May, considering the Combine, the Pro Days, etc.

Could the Vikes trade down and take either Bortles or Carr at a better value while also picking up some draft capital? Sure, but they couldn’t trade down far, because both of those two guys will be taken far ahead of where they should be because of the QB needy market.

So if they’re not using the 8th pick in the draft on a QB, do they trade up and take either Bridgewater or Manziel?  GM Rick Spielman has proven he’s not afraid to move up in the draft for a player he covets.  It will be possible too, because either one of the top three teams (Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars) have all indicated a willingness to trade down.  But it would be costly, likely two 1st rounders and a 2nd, or a 1st, two 2nd’s and two 3rds.  However the mash of picks turns out, it’s going to be worth a lot of value, but that’s the kind of value you expect from a franchise quarterback.

And giving away that kind of capital can bite you in the end, look no further than the Washington Redskins and the Bob Griffin trade for proof.

I think trading down and taking one of the top cornerbacks like Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State) or Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State) with their first pick and looking at the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) and A.J. McCarron (Alabama) with their early 2nd round pick would be their best move.

Trading up to a top-2 or 3 pick is way too costly, and reaching for Bortles or Carr might prove the franchise learned nothing from Ponder, so trade down I say.  If this isn’t the year they find the franchise QB, don’t force it.

Remember next years class of QB’s should feature Jameis Winston (Florida State), Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Brett Hundley (UCLA).

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on Google+.


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