The Vikings also have taken a quarterback in the top three rounds only six times. Just three of them — Tommy Kramer (27th overall in 1977), Daunte Culpepper (11th in 1999) and Ponder — were first-rounders.
“What it tells me,” Turner said, “is the Vikings have had a lot of good teams and a lot of good quarterbacks. And they also haven’t missed on one in the top 10.”
Even if the Vikings don’t take a quarterback at No. 8, they’re almost certain to take one at some point in this draft. Noted quarterback guru Turner and his son, quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, have been entrusted with influential say in the team’s nationwide manhunt for a quarterback this offseason.
The assignment: Find the next Kramer, Wade Wilson or Brad Johnson and sound the alarm against the next Bill Cappleman, Tarvaris Jackson or John David Booty.
“There is no one quality you look for,” Turner said. “It’s vision, good creativity, understanding of concepts, productivity, third down, red zone with a heavy rush. Playing quarterback in college is a totally different deal than playing in the NFL. That’s why it’s such a challenge to pick the right guy.”
Last month, Spielman agreed with the unnamed coach of a quarterback-needy team who told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that picking among this year’s quarterbacks was a “torturous decision.” Before speaking to King, Spielman sat in his office and explained the difficulty of needing a quarterback but also needing to be ever mindful of a defense that ranked last in points allowed and blew five leads with less than a minute left in regulation last fall.
“There isn’t that Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck,” Spielman said. “There are positives and negatives with each guy, and there are so many different flavors of quarterbacks.”
In a few years, with hindsight to guide the 140-character discussion, we’ll know whether Manziel’s unbridled personality made someone a genius or a fool. We’ll know whether Bridgewater’s horrible predraft workouts were reasonable concerns or the misguided minutiae of over-analysis run amok.
We’ll also know who among the group of Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, A.J. McCarron, Logan Thomas, Zach Mettenberger, Aaron Murray and Tom Savage were steals, if any, on the second and third days of the draft.
“You can evaluate all you want, but there’s the human element that’s also a part of this whole process,” said George Paton, Vikings assistant general manager. “You think you know all these guys really well, but how well do you really know them? That’s why we put 80 percent of our evaluation into what we see on tape. Then there’s all the other stuff that factors in. It takes months and months. But even then, you’re still wrong sometimes.”