Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vikings in a Box or Just Unable to See the Forest for the Trees?

Several weeks ago, when the option still remained, I suggested that the Minnesota Vikings give serious consideration to trading for former Kansas City starting quarterback Trent Green. Considered expendable by a Kansas City organization that believes it has two promising young quarterbacks, Green, who is coming off of yet another serious head injury in 2006, was a risk from a health perspective but certainly not from a performance perspective, when healthy.

Despite an asking price of merely a fourth- or fifth-round draft choice for an established and proficient, veteran quarterback, the Vikings never seriously considered Green. Instead, the Vikings passed on Green, claiming that they were content with their stable of relatively inexperienced quarterbacks.

Last week, there was a change of heart at Winter Park, as Vikings' head coach Brad Childress announced, somewhat surprisingly for the usually pucker-lipped coach, that the Vikings were on the market for a veteran quarterback. Unfortunately, the few even remotely quality-caliber veteran quarterbacks are now off the market, though Childress ill-advisedly appears to consider Kelly Holcumb a quarterback in that mold.

For solace, the Vikings can point to the quarterback situations of their NFC rivals and argue, albeit somewhat foolishly, that their division rivals also lack quarterback depth. The catch, of course, is that two of the division rivals have experienced and capable starting quarterbacks, while the third, Chicago, at least has a starter with some experience and a backup with more.

If the Packers lose Favre, they will be forced to turn to former first-round pick Aaron Rodgers. But the Packers never lose Favre and resorting to Rodgers would be akin to the Vikings resorting to Tarvaris Jackson--if not better.

If, as is more likely but still not suggested by recent history, the Lions lose Kitna, they can turn to Dan Orlovsky--probably no better a quarterback than Tavaris Jackson but also not the current starter and arguably no worse than Jackson were he to be named starter for the Lions.

The Bears, meanwhile, might be one of the few teams that clearly would benefit by having their starting quarterback go down. With an average at best starter in Rex Grossman, Chicago probably would benefit by giving Brian Griese an opportunity.

All of which appears to leave the Vikings where they were at the end of last season--forced to rely on an inexperienced quarterback to get the ball to inexperienced/bad receivers, behind an offensive line that last season had one dominant player, two acceptable players, and two miserable players, while chasing rivals who seem better stocked at the most important position on the field and without some of the glaring holes that the Vikings have at key, offensive positions--not a good recipe for breaking in an already very raw rookie quarterback.

While the Vikings have finally realized their quarterback dilemma, albeit probably far too late, there is a solution to their quarterback problem that appears not to have occurred to the team's personnel people or head coach as of yet. That solution is to take some of the gold currently in the vault and turn it into players.

By adding a quality receiver, right guard, and right tackle, the quarterback problem suddenly would become less glaring. Moreover, unlike the quarterback that the Vikings now seek, there are likely to be offensive guards, offensive tackles, and wide receivers cut by other teams in pre-season who would fit the Vikings' needs.

Of course, the Vikings would have to recognize their needs at the appropriate juncture and possibly spend in excess of the NFL salary floor to sign those players. And that might be asking far too much of this team.

Up Next: Does Detroit Have the Goods to Deliver on Kitna's Promise?


Kevin said...

Add a quality receiver, right guard, and right tackle, the quarterback problem suddenly would become less glaring.


Vikes Geek said...


Who the Vikings find will be a function of who is cut in pre-season. While there will be receivers and linemen available, it is unlikely that there will be a viable, veteran QB available. It's not a very satisfying realization that the Vikings still need to add players at key positions and that they will need to do so by sifting through the pre-season cuts, but that's where the Vikings have left themselves. We'll see if they come up with anyone.