Johnny Manziel capped a unique pro day with a final deep pass right on target to Mike Evans, his favorite receiver at Texas A&M.
Manziel's pro day workout, scripted by his quarterback coach George Whitfield, was as close to flawless as these events get. He threw one pass low that hit the ground, had another go through his receiver's hands and was late on an out route that was caught out of bounds, but it was definitely a "win" for Manziel as he covered the bases of NFL throws.
"We were striving for perfection. One ball hit the ground. I'm kind of disappointed by that," Manziel told NFL Network after the workout that included 64 throws, all them coming with Manziel starting under center.
"I'm not scared of anything. I don't play that way on the field."
The throws also came in front of all the big decision-making hitters with the Vikings: general manager Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner.
Zimmer told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Manziel's workout was "different" and also called it a "sideshow." But the Vikings also were getting their chance to take Manziel to dinner on Thursday night and put him through their own workout on Friday.
Manziel was most impressive on his deep throws, an important element in Norv Turner's offense. The first half of his workout featured mostly three- and five-step drops, but he dropped two deep passes – go routes to the right and left after a five-step drop – perfectly in the waiting arms of his receivers midway through the workout.
"I'm looking forward to shoring up all the people that are saying that I'm just an improviser," Manziel said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, where he elected not to throw. "Feel like I worked extremely hard this
year to all-around hone in on my game, so continuing to do that, working out in San Diego, continuing to do that and getting better as a pocket passer and as a quarterback in general."
He said after his pro day he wanted to make it as challenging as possible, and he passed the eye test when it came to velocity and accuracy.
One question will be how much his height hurts him. He measured in at the Scouting Combine a quarter-inch short of 6 feet.
"I play with a lot of heart, play with a lot of passion. I feel like I play like I'm 10-feet tall," he said then.
One measurement that should help him is his hand size, which came up a quarter-inch shy of 10 inches, the second biggest among the top quarterbacks at the Combine (A.J. McCarron's hand measured 10 inches). That might also help him succeed in cold weather over the next two years at TCF Bank Stadium if the Vikings have a chance to draft him at No. 8 overall.
"Any circumstances, any situation that's thrown my way, that's part of being a quarterback. You have to handle what's thrown your way, whether it's cold weather, rain. You look at some of these games this year, Jacksonville, Arizona, whoever these warm teams are, these teams still play in the cold," Manziel said. "It's football, it's a man's game and it's played in the snow, it's played in the wet weather, it's played in tough environments."
His environment on the campus at Texas A&M Thursday was familiar but oddly unique. He had Drake playing over the loudspeaker, made the unusual decision to wear shoulder pads and a helmet – new to NFL pro days – and had a large crowd on hand that included former President George Bush watching only feet away from Spielman and Zimmer.
It was the type of day fit for "Johnny Football" – unorthodox but effective.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Manziel impressive in front of Vikings
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