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Thursday, February 20, 2014
Countdown to combine: Vikings QBs

By Ben Goessling

INDIANAPOLIS -- We're wrapping up our Countdown to combine series this morning, since, well, the NFL scouting combine is here. Things get started at Lucas Oil Stadium today, so we'll conclude our preview by looking at one last position of need for the Vikings.

Position of need: Quarterback

This is an obvious one, isn't it? The Vikings have had a hole at the position for years, and could be back in the market for a quarterback three years after their ill-fated selection of Christian Ponder in the first round of the 2011 draft. At the moment, Ponder is the only quarterback on their roster after Matt Cassel opted out of his deal, and the Vikings have said they'd like to bring in a young quarterback. They might not have a shot at the top quarterbacks in the draft with the No. 8 overall pick, but they could find options in the second or third round of the draft, as well.

Three players the Vikings might be targeting:

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: The odds of Johnny Football still being available at No. 8 are slim, and the price to trade up and get him would be steep, but you never know. Some teams could pass on Manziel because of his size (we''ll see at the combine if he checks in under 6 feet) and his reputation for enjoying the spoils of his position. But he was the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy, and it's tough to argue with his performance at Texas A&M. Russell Wilson and Drew Brees have proved short quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL, and the Vikings could use a dose of Manziel's swagger.

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: Another quarterback who could be gone by the time the Vikings pick, Bridgewater will nonetheless merit a long look from the Vikings. He might be the most polished quarterback in the draft, though his arm strength isn't on par with Manziel or Bortles, and his mobility will certainly attract plenty of attention. Though Adrian Peterson has said he'd like to play with Manziel, the possibility of Bridgewater and Peterson in the same backfield is enticing, too.

Blake Bortles, Central Florida: Some mock drafts have Bortles going ahead of Bridgewater or Manziel, which means there's a good chance he'll be gone by No. 8. He's probably the most traditional of the big quarterbacks in this draft -- he stands 6-foot-4, weighs 230 pounds and has an above-average arm -- so if the Vikings were to get a shot at him, they'd be acquiring a quarterback who could fit well in Norv Turner's offense.