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Foxy is the way to go as NFL draft approaches

Football is a game that loves misdirection and so is the NFL draft.

The experts are holding one mock draft after another as they frantically compete to prove their clairvoyance. This is usually a lot of smoke up the chimney. They can be right on the first few picks but after that it’s a crapshoot.

We have been hearing the Minnesota Vikings have two big needs in the draft – a linebacker and a quarterback. That actually translates into a defense that will not give up the most points in the league and an offense that can give a so-so defense a breather.

Right now, Blake Bortles of Central Florida Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M are rated the top three quarterback in the draft. If one of these guys are still on the board when the Vikes get their turn and they do not grab him, the fans are going to yelp like a pack of hounds.

Why would the Vike be playing it foxy? There are at least five teams drafting ahead of Minnesota who might decide to snap up one of these first round quarterbacks. There are more than a score of them who might make a trade with one of the seven teams drafting ahead of Minnesota. The Vikings might have some trade ideas themselves. It’s how they landed Jared Allen.

Bortles and Bridgewater are rated higher than Manziel right now so if the Vikes get a shot at one of these guys his name is likely to be Manziel.

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer has talked about “flags” with Manziel and general manager Rick Spielman has talked about concentrating on defense and grabbing a quarterback in the second, third or even fourth round. There could be more than a germ of truth in both these comments but one thing is for sure - showing your playbook to the competition comes under the heading of very dumb football.

The draft is a strange animal. First rounders stand a good chance of landing the biggest money but they can also lay the biggest eggs. Take some time and go through the NFL’s current rosters, you are going to find a lot of guys starting who were chosen in the lower rounds or were not drafted at all.

NFL teams would pay a fortune to come up with a way of zeroing in on the guys who really want to play football. You can yap all you want to about a player’s size and speed but it’s what he has in his heart and soul that really counts.

Actually, it is a bit ironic that Zimmer, the first year head coach who has not yet won a single NFL game would pass any judgment on Manziel. Has anyone asked Manziel how playing for the Vikings would fit in with his off-the-field plans?

If there is a hint on what the Vikings intend to do with their top pick it may come from tradition. NFL teams generally take a high profile, impact player in the first round and the Vikes have never been an exception to that rule. Manziel is about as high profile as it gets in the 2014 draft. After just two seasons of playing college ball he enters the pro ranks with a Heisman Trophy and 63 touchdown passes to his credit.

If none of these sure-fire quarterbacks are available to the Vikings the fans may be willing to get behind a linebacker - as long as they draft a quarterback in the second round - and he turns out to be a future Hall-of-Famer.