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OFFSEASON PREVIEW: Quarterbacks

The offseason really gets kicked off on March 5th, just over a month from now.  Sure, things can happen between now and then like retirements, contract extensions, and franchise/transition tag placements. 

So, over the course of the next month, I plan on going through each position individually to explore where the Vikings stand and what decisions they face in the upcoming offseason.  We’ll start it off by looking at the quarterback position.

2009 SEASON

The Brett Favre experiment went very well for the Vikings in 2009.  Favre provided the veteran leadership, knowledge of the game, and inspiration that the team had been lacking since Randall Cunningham was the team’s quarterback. 

In the regular season, Favre dealt well with a  leaky offensive line by completing nearly 70% of his passes, getting at least 40 completions to six different receivers, throwing 33 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions.  This was perhaps his best season of his Hall of Fame career, ending up with a 107.2 quarterback rating.

Tarvaris Jackson was able to produce decent numbers during “garbage time” over the course of the season.  He went 14 of 21 for 201 yards and a touchdown.  He accomplished the best quarterback rating of his career at 113.4.

Sage Rosenfels went from potential-starter to an afterthought very quickly after Favre signed with the team.  He did not play a single snap in 2009.

Part of the way through the season, the Vikings released John David Booty leaving them with no quarterbacks beyond the three mentioned above.

CURRENT ROSTER

Sage Rosenfels may not have played in 2009, but he may be the only “sure thing” when it comes to being on the Vikings 2010 roster.

Brett Favre will obviously have to decide if he has another season in him or not.  I have no doubt that the Vikings would be elated to have him back for another season and that they’ll do everything in their power to try and make that happen.  I saw a comment earlier that said the uncapped year could mean the Vikings could offer him even more money to come back.  The NFL does have a rule in place, however, that says a player cannot earn more than 30% more than what they earned in 2009.  This means the Vikings could only increase his contract to about $15.6 million for 2010.  He is already due to earn $13 million should he return under his current contract.

Players who have four years or less of NFL experience become restricted free agents under normal NFL rules.  With the uncapped year becoming a virtual certainty, the rule changes to players with six years or less of NFL experience becoming restricted free agents.  Over 200 players are affected by this change, and Tarvaris Jackson is one of them.

Jackson will become a restricted free agent, and I would fully expect the Vikings to tender him at about the second round level.  I suspect Jackson will be back on the roster in 2010.  Jackson has always had great physical tools, but has been inconsistent when it game to decision making and accuracy.  Perhaps 2009 was the year we all wish he could have had 2007, one in which he gets to sit behind a great quarterback and watch and learn.  In other words, perhaps Jackson has learned enough from Favre to become a better player.  I don’t know that too many fans are willing to gamble the 2010 season to find out, however.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENCY

I will tell you right now, the Vikings will not find the answer to their quarterback questions in this year’s free agency class. 

The class is headed up by a bunch of over-the-hill quarterbacks that should be considered nothing more than backups at this point in their careers.  Chad Pennington, Charlie Batch, David Carr, and A.J. Feely are all above 30 years of age and do not instill a sense of hope into any franchise.  I will be shocked if the Vikings pursue any of these guys, regardless of what Brett Favre decides to do.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENCY

If the Vikings want to make a play to nab a player who has had a restricted tender placed on him, then that would prove to be a curious move.  The restricted quarterbacks in a younger group, but still provides little upgrade to the Vikings roster.

Kyle Orton, Matt Moore, Jason Campbell, and Bruce Gradkowski may be worth looking at, but only if the tenders would require minimal compensation to be paid to the current team.  For example, if the Redskins put a 5th round tender on Jason Campbell, then perhaps he’d be worth taking a look at.

I do not, however, expect the Vikings to target any of these guys.  They already have two backups available to them in Rosenfels and Jackson.  No reason to sign a third in exchange for compensation.

TRADE POSSIBILITIES

This is where things get interesting.  If they are willing to give up the draft picks, then there are a few options out there for getting a quarterback via a trade.

Donovan McNabb is the most talked about option, but I find this to be very unlikely.  I find it hard to believe that Andy Reid would give McNabb to an NFC playoff contender like the Vikings when he knows full well that the teams are fairly likely to play each other in the 2010 playoffs.

If the Rams or the Seahawks decide to draft a quarterback very early this year, then perhaps Marc Bulger or Matt Hasselback could be had at a discounted price.  I loathe the idea of Hasselback coming to this organization, but Bulger is an interesting thought.

The most likely option, in my opinion, is for the Vikings to explore a trade with the Browns for Brady Quinn.  Quinn has yet to prove much of anything thus far in his career, but many feel like the talent is there somewhere.  One has to admit that he wasn’t exactly placed into the best situation in Cleveland, and perhaps he could thrive in a new environment.

PROJECTIONS

It is hard to project what the Vikings will do simply because it greatly depends on the decision of Brett Favre. 

With that being said, I think you can pretty much bank on Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels filling two roster spots in 2010.  These two really are solid backups, and having both of them behind Favre was a luxury that very few teams could claim to have in 2009.

If Favre does not return, then I’ll bet that the Vikings explore trade options prior to the draft to either get an established quarterback or trade up in the first round to have a better chance at Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen.

The worst case scenario seems to be the Vikings heading into the 2010 season with Jackson and Rosenfels again competing for the starting job, and a late round pick holding a clipboard.


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19 Responses to “OFFSEASON PREVIEW: Quarterbacks”

  1. bigjohnny84 says:

    Please no Tjack. There are better options than relying on him.

  2. krugjr says:

    not much was said this season about TJ or Sage, other than 2nd or 3rd string, or active or inactive…..does anyone “know” what the coaches feel about Sage? why was he inactive all year? I thought TJ and Sage would switch back and forth during the year and get some playing time……..did Sage just run the opposition offense each week, or did he work on the KAO playbook? I know the year of Favre over-shadowed everything else, but it would have been nice to get some inside info on TJ and Sage from time to time…….just like JDB, very little info, and then….bye-bye!
    If anybody digs anything up, I’d appreciate it!

    I do know that Sage seemed to be “drawing from” Brett on the sidelines all year long a lot more than TJ!

    Trade McKinnie!!!!!

  3. Todd Flaxton says:

    To Who It May Concern-

    Mister Jackson is the way to go. He is an ethical young man who goes to church every week and is more than happy to carry the groceries for the elderly. Unlike Mister Random who would probably steal the groceries and then eat them.

    ~Todd Flaxton

  4. Fragile Freds says:

    AK –

    Freds doesn’t think Banjo will give a definitive answer until sometime next August, Freds not kidding. With that, the Vikes won’t get an answer early enough to move up in the draft. Doesn’t mean they won’t, it just means they won’t have an answer yet.

    Freds also thinks it’s a silly luxury to have two such “capable” back ups. By capable, Fred means fair at best. Sage is also making some nice coin isnt’ he? If the coaches don’t think Sage is a mid tier starter at least, he should be moved. If they think he’s an inactive on Sunday, 3rd stringer. Let’s move on. Fred would rather keep him. But what the hell does Freds know?

    We saw this season work well from a passing standpoint for a number of reasons, many of which relied on timing and accuracy. TJax has neither of these. He’s a back up who can play for 3 weeks until the starter heals from an injury, but then get his ass on the bench where it belongs. He won’t ever be a superbowl QB.

    Fred has always liked Pennington. A smart, accurate passer who Fred thinks can run this show (who also gets injured alot). Freds would also gamble on Quinn. What about the Jets backup Clemens?

    For some reason, Freds likes Sage, who knows why.

    Freds solution:

    1)Draft a rookie in round 3
    2)Get Pennington, Quinn or Clemens
    3)Keep Sage
    4)Move Tjax.

    Compete in camp, winner starts. You know, same old, same old….

    Dang tough problem for sure.

    • starrc10 says:

      I think Percy “Cheech” Harvin would like to have this team moved to CA… in light of the pending legislation there… So, maybe if he can get his headaches under control he could just play QB with Asher Allen.

  5. krugjr says:

    Quinn, possibly, but with needs on defense, I think we’ll keep all draft picks and use them on def and OL…….only thing that could change all this is (oh,oh, krug’s crazy again) the possibility of trading AD for one of the top CBs in the league or trade AD on draft day to move WAY up and pick a immediate impact player (def or QB)…….otherwise I think the new rider will be Purple Sage, TJ, a back-up and draft a piece of clay (with brains)!!!!!

  6. Lost Viking says:

    Freds has the answers at QB. No questioning the logic.

    The August date makes sense for Farve. Anything he says before that date won’t be believed anyway.

    Sage signed for $ 4 million but don’t recall specifics otherwise. Don’t put too much into Sage 3rd string status. T-Jax made sense as a 2nd for a variety of reasons not related to performance-specifics. When Sage has played – pre-season, Texan etc. he has moved the offense.

    Pennington/Anderson/Bulger are good options but you’re not going to get a lot more than what you have. Childress may be looking for a less inspirational QB. That is, he may have a game manager in mind. Chilly’s still smarting from Favre stealing his offense last season. Seems nobody likes a smart-ass.

    Drafting #30 could net a Clausen or Colt McCoy (whoever falls). Fine, grab a clipboard. There’ll be a nice competition for opening day QB between Sage and T-Jax. At least until August

  7. wtfvikesfan says:

    Sage sucks limp wristed wimp.

  8. B. Grant says:

    Favre will return for 2010. Draft his replacement ASAP. Quit using the recycle bin.

  9. […] I am continuing my effort to look at the Vikings roster position-by-position before the offseason gets into full swing.  This is the second installment, and my take on the quarterback situation can be viewed by clicking here. […]

  10. Lost Viking says:

    A couple of points on QB draft selections. There were five QBs selected in the top three rounds of 2006 and four QBs in 2007.

    2006
    Vince Young (3)
    Jay Cutler (11)
    Matt Leinhart (10) 2005?
    Kellen Clemens (49)
    Tarvaris Jackson – (64)
    Brodie Croyle – (85)

    2007
    JaMarcus Russell (1)
    Brady Quinn (22)
    Kevin Kolb (34)
    John Beck (40)
    Trent Edwards (92)

    1) Looking at the list T-Jax and the Vike fared pretty well. Don’t know…he could still wind up being best of the bunch.
    2) QB ratings will fluctuate wildly. Last year Vince Young and Alex Smith were write-offs. Jay Cutler was closest thing to an established star as was David Garrard the year before.
    3) The draft position a team select their QB matters only to them. You might have picked a QB in the 1st round or 2nd round. After a couple of years it has everything to do with who you picked and not where.

  11. […] available are the quarterback and running back versions of “offseason […]

  12. […] out my other previews:  Quarterback, Running back, Full back, Tight […]

  13. […] out my other previews:  Quarterback, Running back, Full back, Tight […]

  14. Randall G says:

    Another good read Adam..

    Its the elephant in the room again but I don’t think the elephant will be hanging around as long as it did last offseason (just a hunch).

    As for drafting a QB this year.. = Tough going
    Bradford is a smart fella with a high cieling but quite the risk since having a year off. I like the guy tho and at some point the Vikes need to roll the dice on a high prospect, win or lose.

    I would suggest all of you to do a little research on Dan LeFevour and don’t forget that name. He will have 1 heck of an NFL career.

    I’m kind of an offseason nut that does alot of research on draft prospects and to be perfectly honest I would grade this kid an A regardless of scouting reports. He has everything Bradford does in ability and intelligence. His accuracy is off the charts and has a great attitude.. Improved every single season and never fails.. Check him out guys and gals.. You’ll be sold.

    I’m hopeful we have an ideal offseason in this department, beg borrow or steal, whatever it takes to get #4 back and draft either Bradford, LeFevour (fun name to say “we got the FEVER” or Clausen to learn behind the 4 star general.

    ~skol

  15. […] out my other previews:  Quarterback, Running back, Full back, Tight end, Wide […]

  16. […] out my other previews:  Quarterback, Running back, Full back, Tight end, Wide […]

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