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.


Vikings met with Manziel Friday; 'flags' came up in conversations

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Quarterbacks, Vikings Updated: March 31, 2014 - 11:55 AM

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said there are some “flags” that popped up during the team’s second meeting with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel on Friday.

The Vikings held a private workout and dinner with Manziel the day after his Pro Day. The two sides previously met at the NFL Combine in February.

“We asked him all kinds of questions. ...There are some flags that come up,” Zimmer said on 104.9 The Horn in Austin on Monday (per Coaching Search). “All of the things that happened out in Los Angeles, the commercials and all that stuff (Manziel had a cameo in a recent McDonalds commercial with LeBron James); the position of quarterback in the NFL is such an important position and the reason these guys need to be a totally football-minded guy is the pressure of the position and being the face of an NFL team and doing everything right. That’s the thing you want to know about him -- will he be into work early every single day? Will be the last to leave? Will he be the guy that is working the hardest to get better?

“There is a change, otherwise all of these other quarterbacks that have come up through the years would have made it, from the college game to the NFL game as far as the speed of the defense and some of the complexities of the different defenses. So that position has got to be a position that really eats, breaths, and sleeps football where he is going to take it upon his shoulders to win. At least the Peyton Manning’s, Drew Brees’ of the world have done that and really all we have to go on in the NFL is past history.”

Zimmer was at Manziel’s Pro Day on Thursday and told the Houston Chronicle following the event that he wasn’t impressed with the sideshow event. It was far from the traditional Pro Day performance with Manziel opting to wear shoulder pads and a helmet while blasting Drake through the speakers in front of NFL executives and former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush.

“I guess the thing you have to figure out is, is this just another part of the things that happened a couple of years ago after he won the Heisman Trophy or is he just a different person as far as wanting the limelight or just wanting to prove that he can do things the right way,” Zimmer said. “I guess it maybe brings a few questions marks in. Is he going to conform to typically what the NFL is or what everyone else has done before him including what the great players in the game have done before him, or is he going to try to be the celebrity man guy that he was maybe a year-and-a-half ago?”

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