Sunday, July 15, 2007

Vikings' Searching for Veteran Quarterback

If the 2007 NFL season were to begin today, the Minnesota Vikings would begin the season with a quarterback depth chart that included Tarvaris Jackson as the starter, Brooks Bollinger as the backup, and Tyler Thigpen of Coastal Carolina fighting off Drew Henson for the number three spot. Suddenly cognizant of the lack of veteran experience among this trio of quarterbacks, the Vikings are said to be in search of a just such a player.

The hitch for the Vikings, of course, is that while the free agent, veteran quarterback pool at one time included capable starters such as Trent Green, Jeff Garcia, and Josh McCown, that pool now includes only much less appealing options such as the player that the Vikings are said to be targeting, current Philadelphia Eagle backup, Kelly Holcumb.

The Vikings' decision to seek an experienced quarterback to ease the team's transition to a new, permanent quarterback would be a good one were it not a decision that: (1) came too late to include one of the two or three viable veterans available, (2) included yet another Philadelphia Eagle that the Eagles arguably signed only to use as trade bait with Eagle-enamored Vikings' head coach Brad Childress, and (3) included a never-was quarterback such as Holcumb.

How bad is Holcumb? In describing Holcumb's addition to the Eagles' squad, sporting news skipped over an analysis of whatever it might be that Holcumb brought to the team, other than age and time on the bench in the NFL, and cut right to the chase arguing that Holcumb should not be on an NFL roster. That's got to be appealing to Vikings' fans.

In what can only be described as an embarrassment for the NFL, Holcumb somehow has managed to cling to an NFL job for an astounding eleven seasons. In that time, he has started just 21 games for three different teams, topping out at eight starts in two different seasons. In his best season of 2005--the season the Vikings no doubt cling to when assessing Holcumb's prospective value as a veteran presence--Holcumb started eight games for Buffalo, a team with a solid receiving corps, played in ten, and finished the season with ten touchdown passes, eight interceptions, and 1,500 yards passing.

Holcumb did not throw a single pass in 2006.

In yet another sign that Childress' arrogance comes before sound decision-making, the Vikings are near the start to what promises to be yet another season without a championship in Minnesota--forty-two straight Super Bowl-era seasons for those counting, with their position of greatest weakness and concern the starting quarterback position. Unfortunately, despite $25-30 million in remaining cap space, the Vikings opted to forego signing a viable, free agent, veteran quarterback in favor of pursuing the likes of Holcumb or, worse yet, perhaps nobody.

Up Next: Stacking Up Against the NFC North.


John said...

Good post.

I can swallow that they didn't spend the cap money on mediocrities, especially because it could hurt them in the future, but this reeks of either:

a) delusion
b) procrastination
c) favoritism or
d) all of the above.

Or, possibly, Childress and his staff realized that this year might be their last and they might want to have some actual results. Whatever. The whole thing reeks of poor planning.

OK, so that's where this team is. So what should they do? Forget it and go with the kids, or do you have any ideas on different veterans that might lend a little stability?

Vikes Geek said...


Barring a surprising cut in pre-season, the Vikings have left themselves with only your latter option of going with the kids. There's not a solid veteran sitting around waiting for a call as there essentially was when Trent Green was on the market. And there's no such veteran that appears on the cutting block.

The problem that the Vikings have is that they have as many young players as they have aging veterans. In two years, guys like Birk, Winfield, Sharper, and Patrick Williams will be gone. And even if Tarvaris Jackson becomes a solid starter by that point, the team will be without several cornerstone players unless they are able to fill the holes left by the veterans. With center and nose tackle very difficult positions to fill with quality players, that's not a very rosy prospect.

With the exception of wide receiver and the right side of the offensive line, the Vikings had the potential to be very competitive in a weak NFC in 2007 but for the decision to start a very raw rookie at QB.