ADVERTISEMENT

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York.

Frank Franklin Ii, Associated Press - Ap

Fans Beau Hansen of Woodbury, left, and Josh Hansen of Eagan reacted to the Vikings’ choice of UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr on Thursday night at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com,

Rand: Manziel frenzy comes and goes

  • May 9, 2014 - 7:58 AM

What do we know?

It’s a valid query in general, but in this case it’s more a specific question regarding the NFL draft.

Every year, we become enamored with a certain player, or a certain move a team must make in the first round. This allows us to watch with not just a vested interest, but an opinion. It lets us be sure when we shouldn’t be sure — happy or unhappy when we really have no clue.

Some of us are brave enough to admit our foibles in retrospect. St. Cloud native Nate Wolters, who now plays for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, told the world via Twitter on Thursday that he was hoping the Vikings would draft Brady Quinn instead of some fella named Peterson with the No. 7 pick in 2007.

He was not alone.

This year’s seductive player was Johnny Manziel. He was polarizing, to be sure, but enough Vikings fans fell in love with his creative playmaking ability and personality to make him a popular pick — if he was still available at No. 8.

I made no secret of my hopes that the Vikings would land him as well — for selfish reasons because he would be the best story, and for football reasons because I really think he was the biggest game-changing talent available in this draft, at a position of need for good measure.

But what do I know?

For now, this: At the official Vikings draft party on Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, there were signature moments. When the Jacksonville Jaguars took Blake Bortles at No. 3, the crowd oohed — a potential QB linked to the Vikings in several mock drafts was off the table.

Once we got past pick No. 5, and Manziel still was available, it became obvious that he was the fan favorite. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson fanned the flames when he got up on stage after six picks were made and said he was surprised Manziel was still there and remarked that the Vikings should go get him.

Vikings backers cheered loudly when Minnesota went on the clock at No. 8 with Manziel still out there. They recoiled when the pick was swapped with Cleveland. They rejoiced when Cleveland didn’t take Manziel, giving the Vikings another shot at No. 9.

And then … the Anthony Barr pick, some cheers from the anti-Manziel camp, but a lot of disappointed fans as well. The player that offered instant excitement — the “it” player from the draft — was there, and then he was suddenly gone.

Barr could prove to be a wonderful player. Manziel certainly could be a flop. Maybe trading to take Teddy Bridgewater will prove to be genius.

Then again, what do we know?

MICHAEL RAND

 

© 2014 Star Tribune