Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman knows he can't afford to whiff on another highly drafted quarterback.
Three years after reaching for Christian Ponder, the Vikings have been linked to numerous quarterbacks with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft -- five of the seven NFL.com mock drafts currently pair put a signal-caller in purple.
Spielman told TheMMQB.com's Peter King that the evaluation of the top quarterbacks has been a "torturous" process.
"The torture part of it," he said, "is you see a player sitting there when you pick who you know can help you right away, a significant player at another position, an impact player as a rookie.
"Then you ask yourself, 'How do we feel about our options at quarterback in the second or third round? Is it close? Is there a big separation? Or is it close?'"
Spielman said the lack of a sure thing -- an Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning-type signal-caller -- led the Vikings to re-sign Matt Cassel. He called the crop of quarterbacks a "mixed bag," lamenting the prospect of passing on a pro-ready position player to draft a quarterback project.
The Ponder decision appears to be haunting Spielman's daydreams. The GM doesn't sound like a man ready to hand over the starting job to a rookie, even if this is all a smokescreen.
"Ideally, if we did pick a quarterback this year we would want to redshirt him anyway, and when he'd be ready to go, he'd play," Spielman said. "But he'd probably use this year as a learning year.
"I can say that now, before our meetings ... but if we are going to consider a quarterback at eight, I better have consensus in the building that this is our guy. We all better feel good about one guy.''