The first round of the NFL draft is tonight. Finally. By the end of the evening, we can take all the first-round mock drafts, print them out and burn them for warmth. We will stay warm a long time.
But until then, it's still time to PREDICT, which in most cases means it's a chance to be horribly wrong.
We're going to hedge our bets by ranking the likelihood of what will happen for the Vikings in the first round, at least as we see it.
1) If the Vikings are able to find a willing trade partner, they swap the No. 8 pick for a spot 5-10 places lower. At that spot, they take the best defensive player available, then they use the extra pick(s) accumulated from the trade to either choose or move up to choose a quarterback. It wouldn't be stunning to see them wind up with two first-round picks by the end of the night. Remember, they also have an extra third-rounder to play with as part of the Percy Harvin trade.
2) If the Vikings are unable to find a willing trade partner, they will take the best defensive player available at No. 8.
3) If the Vikings don't find a trade partner AND they decide to make a splash pick at No. 8, the most likely candidate at quarterback at that spot is Blake Bortles.
4) If somehow Johnny Manziel is available at No. 8, and the Vikings either trade out of the spot or pick someone else, there will be a sizable and vocal contingent ready to burn down Winter Park. In that case, we will establish a plausible alibi for our whereabouts, and anything beyond that is pure speculation.
That's it. Our reasoning is such: Rick Spielman reached for a QB in 2011 with Christian Ponder and it didn't work out. Having re-signed Matt Cassel this year, the Vikings are not as desperate now to take a QB this time around. There are plenty of holes on this roster, most notably linebacker. But with so many holes, the best value play is a trade. The safest play after that is to just take the best defensive player available. A riskier pick is Bortels. And Manziel is in a class all his own.
BONUS: Colleague and noted Packers enthusiast Scott Gillespie tweeted this photo of Brett Favre from his draft day. #neverforget