"He's the closest thing I've seen to myself. Russell Wilson has some of it. But Manziel has those similarities even more so than Russell," Tarkenton said. "Manziel is a quarterback savant."
Tarkenton played 18 seasons and led the Vikings to three Super Bowl appearances during his second stint (1972-78) with Minnesota. He was 6-0 and 190 pounds in 1961, when he was selected in the third round out of Georgia. Manziel checks in a quarter inch shorter but 17 pounds heavier.
Some worry Manziel's smaller-than-ideal frame will expose him to increased injury and translate into more turnovers. Not Tarkenton.
"People are going to say, 'Well, he's only 5-11¾ tall,'" Tarkenton says. "I wasn't as big, strong and fast as all these other players. But I knew how to play."
We are confident Manziel will be the most productive of the quarterbacks drafted this year. Whether he does it purple, of course, remains to be seen.