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Johnny Manziel's maturity top concern for Vikings' Mike Zimmer

The Minnesota Vikings could use a quarterback, and Johnny Manziel might be their guy.

But before new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer zeroes in on Manziel's passing skills, he first wants to find answers to questions that have dogged Manziel for more than a year -- those regarding his maturity, his leadership and his presence in the locker room.

"It's still going to come down to how we feel about how he's going to be in the locker room, what kind of person he's going to be, what kind of leader, and then go from there," Zimmer said, according to twincities.com.

While Zimmer's words suggest that evaluating Manziel off the field will come before an on-field assessment, there is little doubt that film of Manziel's play has been scrutinized from top to bottom, particularly by clubs such as the Vikings who are in need of a quarterback. Manziel's pro day performance Thursday -- if general managers such as Cleveland's Ray Farmer are to be believed -- won't weigh on Minnesota's thinking because the workout will be too scripted and too easy. Six weeks before the draft, it's fair to wonder if Minnesota has largely made up its mind about Manziel as a player, and the locker-room fit is, instead, the last puzzle piece rather than the first.

Zimmer also said he has spoken with former Vikings star Fran Tarkenton about his opinions of Manziel. Tarkenton, one of the NFL's best scramblers ever at quarterback, has been outspoken about Manziel, who shredded defenses in college football's best defensive conference with an uncanny ability to scramble for big plays, both rushing and throwing.

Manziel, of course, has brought the off-field question marks upon himself. Although he maintained a relatively low public profile throughout his redshirt sophomore season in 2013, the offseason that followed his 2012 Heisman Trophy-winning campaign was wrought with questionable off-field actions, culminating with his ouster from the Manning Passing Academy for tardiness last summer.

Manziel himself has conceded that the "Johnny Football" persona that burgeoned from both his dynamic play and his offseason reputation as a hard-partying celebrity is something he needs to separate himself from as he enters a pro career.

As for the Vikings, they've been a popular landing spot for Manziel in mock drafts, including that of NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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