Vikings could have first-time starter at QB

The Vikings' quarterback situation is calling for desperate measures, which could mean Joe Webb as a starter. It's not what Leslie Frazier wants, but injuries have forced that possibility.

Anyone who saw Brett Favre's purple right hand on Monday night realizes the complications involved with his sprained sternoclavicular joint. Anyone who has seen Tarvaris Jackson's inability to stay healthy when given opportunities knows the reality of his situation.

Jackson isn't expected to practice on Thursday after suffering a turf toe injury in his first start since 2008, but interim head coach Leslie Frazier was actually holding out some hope that Favre might be able to get some practice reps this week.

But with both of the Vikings' top two quarterbacks dealing with injuries and a veteran journeyman in Patrick Ramsey starting up practices for the first time on Thursday, the Vikings may have to end up going with third-string rookie Joe Webb, inexperience and all.

The Vikings are already out of the playoff picture, but interim head coach Leslie Frazier said Webb would only play if Favre and Jackson can't, and that was before Ramsey was signed. For now, just as the team waits to see where they will play, it will wait and see how all four of their quarterbacks respond this week – Favre and Jackson to their injuries, and Webb and Ramsey to their practice reps.

"He hasn't had a lot of practice reps, including last week," Frazier said of Webb. "We didn't know right up until Friday if he would be available. It wouldn't be the ideal situation if he had to start the game on Monday night. If that is the case, he would be ready for it and we would do whatever we have to do to get him prepared. You just have to know he hasn't had a lot of snaps as a quarterback."

The plan was to wait and let Webb develop, but the sixth-round draft pick was forced into limited action Monday night for the first time at quarterback and finished with eight yards on 2 of 5 passing. While Webb was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year in 2009, the Vikings want to be careful they don't stunt his growth by exposing him to confusing NFL game situations too quickly too early. Still, desperate times might call for desperate measures.

"The circumstances are so unique that we have to think about the now as opposed to long-term with Joe. If he is our best available option, then he will be the guy that is quarterbacking for us," Frazier said. "He'd be fine from a developmental standpoint. It's just the fact that he hasn't had very many snaps, is what you get a little bit concerned about, although in the snaps that he got last night, he had like eight snaps, he did pretty good. He did some positive things."

If not Webb, injuries could dictate that Ramsey starts with only Thursday, Friday and Saturday practices to prepare.

"It doesn't happen very often. You have to be pretty depleted for that to happen and we are getting close to that point, but that is definitely not ideal in the National Football League," Frazier said. "That is very, very tough, especially if you haven't been with that team in training camp or at one point during the regular season, and you are not familiar with their system, that is a tough deal. But you have to do what you have to do to get out there."

Ideally, Ramsey and Webb would only be backups Monday night against the Bears, but the Vikings' entire season has been far from ideal.

NOTES

  • Frazier was pleased with the play of his special teams Monday night, one of the few bright spots in their 21-3 loss to the New York Giants. Lorenzo Booker, playing in his first game as a Viking, returned one kickoff for a touchdown that was called back because of a questionable block in the back, but Booker still averaged 30.8 yards on four returns with a long of 49 yards. Punt returner Greg Camarillo had a season-long return of 52 yards and averaged 18 yards on five returns. "I thought our special teams played well. They were probably one of the highlights of the contest," Frazier said.

  • Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield was named to USA Football's All-Fundamentals team for his "coverage/agility." The team is selected by a group of seven former NFL players, coaches and general managers.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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