On Wednesday, the local media got its first chance to meet the newest Viking, Rhett Bomar, a quarterback the Vikings signed off the Giants practice squad Monday. With Tarvaris Jackson on injured reserve and Brett Favre not likely to play again after suffering a black-out concussion in Monday's game with Chicago, the Vikings had only two potentially active quarterbacks on the 53 man roster – starter Joe Webb and recently-signed backup Patrick Ramsey.
The attrition rate of quarterbacks is as pronounced as it has ever been – if Webb replaces Favre in the starting lineup Sunday at Philadelphia – he will be the 60th different quarterback to start in the NFL, an average of almost two starters per team. Only 11 quarterbacks have started every game for their team in 2010 – Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Sam Bradford and Josh Freeman. Of those 11, all but Palmer, Schaub and Freeman are either in the playoffs or in contention to grab one of those spots.
As far as the Vikings are concerned, Sunday will be the third straight game in which they will have a new starting quarterback, so there has been a lot of turnover and turmoil at the position. Bomar said he is on the fast track to learn the offense and hopes that the Vikings have confidence in him – by claiming him off the Giants practice squad, he needs to be on the active roster the final two games – to extend him beyond the end of the season.
Bomar said it's been a hectic couple of days, punctuated by trying to get to his new job under less-than-ideal road conditions.
"I got up here yesterday and was braving the snow, "Bomar said. "I'm not used to that. I'm from Texas. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can in these next two weeks and see what happens."
It's been a whirlwind few days for Bomar, who woke up Monday still stinging from the Miracle at the Meadowlands loss in which the Giants surrendered 28 unanswered points to the Eagles in eight minutes and change in the fourth quarter. He showed up for work only to get word early that his days with the Giants were over and that he would be packing his bags and heading to the Midwest – a trip that got delayed due to the storms that again blasted the Twin Cities on Monday.
"I was with the Giants Monday morning in New Jersey," Bomar said. "Then I was here on Monday afternoon. Actually, most of that time I was stuck at the airport waiting to get here."
Bomar never got much of a chance to prove himself with the Giants. The only game of his Giants career in which he was active was last year's regular-season finale, when Bomar got his first taste of the Metrodome.
"That's why it's kind of funny (that I'm here)," Bomar said. "The only game I was active last year was Minnesota and we came up here and got killed."
Bomar said he thought he might end up a Viking on draft day 2008. The Vikings were interested in him coming into the draft and he said he had contact with several members of the organization in the weeks and months leading up to the draft. After Sam Bradford, the top pick in this year's draft, arrived at Oklahoma, Bomar saw the handwriting on the wall and transferred to Sam Houston State. Prior to transferring, he was college teammates with Adrian Peterson – they both came to Oklahoma as freshmen in 2004 – and Jon Cooper was the Sooners' starting center at the time. He said seeing a couple of familiar faces has helped him make his late-season transition to a new team in a new city.
Interim head coach Leslie Frazier already sees some physical qualities he likes in Bomar.
"Very strong arm. That jumps out at you right away," Frazier said. "He has very good intellect and he really understands the passing game and the little time we spent with him yesterday and even this morning he's done a good job of grasping some of the concepts that we have on offense. We knew of his intelligence, so to see how he's responded has been a boost for us. So we'll just see how much we can give him as the week goes on."
The hardest part for Bomar will be to make a positive impression in the short time he's with the Vikings before the end of the 2010 season and the players head off their separate ways. He said he's spending his holiday studying film and being ears deep in the offensive playbook.
"It's going to be a tough process," Bomar said. "I'm just trying to learn the offense. That's the main thing, because it's different from what I'm used to. I'm trying to get in there and get some extra time, learn as much as I can and get familiar with it, because that's going to be key."
Roster movement this late in the season is a rarity in the NFL. Most teams have their rosters solidified and only pilfer other teams' practice squads for players when they are so short-handed they need to fill a roster spot. Bomar said the news that the Vikings were interested and then confirmed that they were going to claim him came as something of a shock, but he said it was quickly replaced that with joy – seeing his chance to fight to realize his NFL dream. When asked about his reaction to the news, Bomar said it was a mixed bag.
"Maybe a little surprised, but (I'm) just excited and happy," Bomar said. "I'm happy to have a chance to compete for the future or whatever it may be. That's what I'm trying to learn right now."
Whether Bomar's two-week audition will help find him a more permanent landing spot with the Vikings, he said he feels better about his future prospects today than he did on Monday morning. The disappointment of Sunday's loss was hanging heavy over the Giants practice facility and he said the new start gives him a chance to jump-start his pro career. He knew that with Manning in front of him, his future seemed pre-ordained as a backup. With the Vikings, he sees an entirely different horizon in front of him.
"It's a totally different situation," Bomar said. "There's no doubt about that. Eli's going to be there forever. He's our franchise guy. Of course, everybody wants to play. I'm just looking for an opportunity to get on the field and show what I can do."
Bomar said he is looking forward to getting to know the players and coaches because, after seeing his career essentially hit a wall, the Vikings are a new lease on life.
"It's a great opportunity," Bomar said. "I'm very excited, looking forward to it. I enjoyed my time in New York, but it's time to move on. I'm grateful for the opportunity with the Vikings to pick me up."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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