2014 NFL mock draft: Derek Carr to Minnesota Vikings at No. 8

Still looking for a franchise quarterback three years after making Christian Ponder a first-round pick, could the Vikings surprise by taking a quarterback early again?

Three years ago, with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings made one of the more surprising selections of the year when they tabbed Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder with the pick. Today, the Vikings are retooling, having hired Mike Zimmer as their new head coach. They are looking for a franchise quarterback again, as well.

Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman is taking Derek Carr with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, and he's here to explain how this isn't like that Ponder pick at all. Take it away, Mr. Gates ...

Team Player Pos. Ht Wt Class
8. Vikings Derek Carr, Fresno State QB 6'2 214 SR

"The way this draft has played out represents a bit of a nightmare scenario for the Vikings. The 'Big Three' quarterbacks are all off the board, as are Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. The talent on the board doesn't necessarily match up with the team's needs. In this scenario, the Vikings' optimal choice would be to trade down, but that isn't an option here.

So, after much discussion, we decided to pull the trigger on Carr. He has risen up the draft boards significantly over the past few weeks, and put up some pretty dazzling numbers at Fresno State this past season. He also seems to have the arm strength and the ability to make the throws that Norv Turner likes to build his offense around. Carr may appear to be a bit of a reach, and this is probably going to have a lot of Viking fans experiencing flashbacks to the selection of Christian Ponder in 2011. However, in this case, we feel that the drop-off from Carr to the next tier of quarterbacks is much more significant than the drop-off (such as it is) from the 'Big Three' in this year's draft to Carr. Selecting Carr at this spot would allow Mike Zimmer and company to focus on the Minnesota defense for the remainder of the selection process. Carr might not step right in as the starter as a rookie, but he would give the Vikings a solid building block going forward."

Dan Kadar, our sage NFL Draft analyst, has some thoughts and opinions to share on the Vikings' mock draft pick of Carr:

This is early for Carr, our 37th-rated player in this year's draft. But as we've seen in the past, the need for quarterback can far outweigh value. Carr has gotten a fair amount of positive attention during the offseason process. It's overshadowed his poor bowl game and quieted some concerns about his footwork in the face of pressure. But if the Vikings like him, they'll have to get him here. He'll otherwise be gone with the team's second choice, No. 40 overall.

Next up in the 2014 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft: yours truly, making the pick for the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 overall on behalf of Buffalo Rumblings. See you at noon ET.

Top 5 players remaining

# Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.
3 Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M 6'5 305
7 Mike Evans WR Texas A&M 6'5 225
8 Eric Ebron
TE North Carolina
6'4
250
9 C.J. Mosley
LB Alabama 6'2 234
10 Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix S Alabama 6'1
208

2014 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results

Vikings picks

Rd # Team Player Pos. College
1 8 Minnesota Vikings Derek Carr QB Fresno State
2 40 Minnesota Vikings

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