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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer grills Johnny Manziel on 'flags'

Quarterback Johnny Manziel's meeting with the Minnesota Vikings following his pro-day performance apparently wasn't filled with softball questions.

New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer cited "flags" that Manziel was asked about regarding his maturity during the Friday meeting.

"We asked him all kinds of questions. We went to dinner with him the night after (his pro day). We talked to him at the combine. There are some flags that come up," Zimmer told 104.9 The Horn, according to a transcription at 247sports.com. "All of the things that happened out in Los Angeles, the commercials and all that stuff. 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?"

Although private workouts for various clubs are no doubt still ahead, Manziel evaluations in the weeks leading up to the May 8 draft will likely focus heavily on what's between his ears, not what's in his throwing arm. Manziel is a possible top-10 pick, and the Vikings, with a need at quarterback and the No. 8 overall pick, are considered a strong possibility for Manziel's draft-day destination. Zimmer's remarks are right in line with what he said prior to Manziel's pro day about what will ultimately be important in his evaluation. They're also in line with what a coach fearing he might not get a chance to draft Manziel could say to try to keep the narrative about Manziel's drawbacks alive and well.

Zimmer would be wise to do anything, of course, to help Manziel fall into Minnesota's waiting arms, if that is indeed what the club wants to do with the pick. And Zimmer wasn't finished:

"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," he added. "At least the Peyton Mannings, Drew Brees's of the world have done that and really all we have to go on in the NFL is past history."

If that's a smokescreen, it's a thick one.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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