Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Mike Mayock: Teddy Bridgewater most NFL ready QB

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFL draft Updated: February 18, 2014 - 3:31 PM

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on Tuesday that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft, ahead of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and UCF’s Blake Bortles.

He thinks Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles are locks as the top three quarterbacks, but he likes that Bridgewater’s offense at Louisville had him under center, in the pistol and shotgun while incorporating three-step and five-step drops. He said Bridgewater reads more than just half the field and not as big of a “wild card” like Manziel.

Mayock still likes Manziel, though he’s different from any quarterback he’s evaluated before, and compared him to Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback Fan Tarkenton and Doug Flutie. He was impressed watching Manziel on tape against Alabama but felt he got frustrated in the pocket against LSU and Missouri.

“The more he was in the pocket, the more frustrated he got. He started to lose his accuracy, he started trying to escape the pocket way before he needed to, and I feel like he doesn’t like being confined. He likes those open spaces. We’ve got to evaluate him a little differently because of that.”

Mayock said the NFL will catch on to this quickly, but he does believe in Manizel’s arm-strength, athletic ability and passion for the game.

“I believe in the kid,” Mayock said. “I think he’s going to be a top-10, if not top-five pick, but you’re going to have to live with some of those negative plays in addition to the positive ones.”

Mayock isn’t sold on Bortles’ arm strength and wants to see him throw at the NFL Combine this week. Bortles announced on Twitter that he will throw.

He’s not ready to say that Bortles or Bridgewater are All-Pro quarterbacks, but he thinks both will be really good.  

Outside of his top-three quarterbacks, he thinks Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr is a late first round pick and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could go in the second or third rounds with LSU quarterbackZach Mettenberger as a Day 3 quarterback. Mayock didn’t think Mettenberger was a first or second round pick before tearing his ACL because he stares downs receivers and gets rid of the ball late. He said Metternberger has a lot to learn and won’t be an immediate starter, but Mayock likes his size and arm strength.

If one of the top three quarterbacks aren’t on the board when the Vikings are on the clock with the eighth overall pick, Mayock said this is the deepest and probably best draft class in the last 10 years.

Other notes from Mayock’s media conference call:

* Buffalo Linebacker Khalil Mack is a top-five pick in Mayock’s eyes. He thinks he’s the best edge rusher in the draft behind South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. He thinks Mack runs like a safety as well and can even cover tight ends.

*Mayock thinks Clowney has the physical makeup to be the best player in the draft, with even a greater upside than defensive end Mario Williams entering the 2006 NFL Draft, but he’s uncertain about Clowney mentally.

“How important is it to him when he gets a big paycheck to become the best player in football or is he just going to be happy to become a millionaire?” Mayock said.

*Mayock thinks Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert can step in on Day 1 as starters. He thinks there are starting corners in the draft in the third and fourth rounds as well.

* Mayock said Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam is a “tweener” prospect with the size of a linebacker and the skill set of a defensive end. He thinks Sam will be a third-to-fifth round pick.

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Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
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Arizona
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Cleveland
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Pittsburgh
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Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
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Boise State 55
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California 41
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(21) Clemson
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ULM
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(24) LSU
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Tennessee
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(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
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Washington
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Hawaii
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Memphis
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Iowa State
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(11) Kansas State
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Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
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Iowa
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Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
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Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
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Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
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