With five quarterbacks on the roster, it was little surprise when, last week, the Vikings opted to release the least experienced of the group, former University of Miami signal caller Kyle Wright. While some had suggested that the Vikings might retain Wright and release Brooks Bollinger, such a move would have left the Vikings with only one experienced quarterback, Gus Frerotte, behind Tarvaris Jackson. And with an injury history and age operating against Frerotte, that would have left the Vikings in a precarious situation at quarterback.
Ultimately, the Vikings were left with two options regarding Wright. The first was to do as they did, letting Wright walk after a brief appearance in the team's OTAs. The second was to retain Wright and release not Bollinger, but fifth-round quarterback John David Booty. And, after giving up a seventh-round pick to move up to take Booty, such a move simply was not in the cards.
Wright's release does not finalize the Vikings' moves at quarterback, however, as the team almost certainly will enter the season with three rather than four quarterbacks. That means that the Vikings still have a difficult decision to make. Committed to the relatively inexperienced Jackson as the starter, the team must carry an experienced veteran to fill in for Jackson should Jackson falter or sustain an injury. That means that either Frerotte or someone not currently on the roster will be the backup quarterback next season.
The more interesting issue for the Vikings is whether to keep Booty or Bollinger. Bollinger cannot be designated for the practice squad, meaning that the Vikings either must keep him on the roster or release him. Booty, meanwhile, is eligible for designation to the practice squad but likely would be picked up by another team if the Vikings did attempt to so designate him. Neither option is entirely satisfactory from the Vikings' perspective, but neither, either, would be retaining four quarterbacks at the loss of a player at another position.
Though Bollinger has been average at best, he has shown some ability at the professional level and should be capable of playing at least one full game without significantly impairing the Vikings' season. Booty, on the other hand, has zero NFL experience but arguably more upside, if not substantially more.
Head coach Brad Childress' commitment to Jackson as the starter last season meant that Jackson was virtually assured of being the starter in 2008. That, now, has come to pass. And that has handcuffed the Vikings in one of two ways. Either the team must enter 2008 with an extra quarterback on the 53-man roster or the team must employ a three-man quarterbacking corps that either short-changes the team's future or handcuffs its present.
Up Next: Offensive Line.