When former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel slipped in the 2014 NFL Draft, many were under the impression that the Minnesota Vikings would select him. The Vikings had an opportunity to select Manziel at picks eight and nine, but ultimately selected former UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr with the ninth overall selection. While not selecting Manziel in the top 10, and later failing to complete a trade in order to select Manziel left a lot of Vikings fans unhappy, missing out on Manziel may end up a blessing in disguise for the team.
The Cleveland Browns eventually selected Manziel with the 22nd overall pick, trading with the Philadelphia Eagles in order to do so. It was reported that the Vikings were in the mix for the Eagles’ first round pick as well, apparently to select Manziel, but had their offer trumped by the Browns. The Vikings later responded by trading back into the first round with the Seattle Seahawks in order to select former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
As a result, the Vikings were able to address their two most important needs at linebacker and quarterback with high-ceiling prospects at the cost of a first, second and fourth round selection. Had the Vikings selected Manziel with a top 10 pick, this would not have been possible as Barr would have likely been a top-15 selection.
Without even taking a snap yet, Manziel is one of the most polarizing players in the NFL. While his apparent escapades are definitely overblown by the media, it certainly brings his respective team a lot of unwanted attention. As recently proven by his Memorial Day weekend trip to Las Vegas, Manziel cannot go anywhere without attracting unwanted attention. This attention may be unfair and many of the speculations may be untrue, it will not cease anytime soon.
Manziel may prove to be an elite quarterback in the NFL, but who is to say Bridgewater will not be. Bridgewater has already impressed the Vikings coaching staff. New head coach Mike Zimmer has stated that he is the first one in the training facility every day and also the last one to leave. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner has stated that Bridgewater has been very coachable and is catching on quickly to the new offense.
Manziel may have the highest ceiling out of all the quarterbacks selected during the 2014 NFL Draft, but he also likely has the highest bust-potential due to his style of play. Unfortunately, some fans and analysts are already under the impression that the Vikings blew it by not selecting Manziel. While there is no way to know whether Manziel or Bridgewater will have the more successful NFL career, analysts and fans may ultimately realize that missing out on Manziel was for the best of the team.