First-round QBs driving playoff teams

The Vikings might be in the market for a first-round quarterback in April and all they need to do is look at the playoff teams to see what the reward can be.

Perhaps at no time in recent NFL history have teams that have invested in quarterbacks been as rewarded as they have in the 2010 season. With the Vikings expected to lose Brett Favre, they have plenty of questions regarding the future of the quarterback position. A look at the teams that are in the playoffs – and even those favored to grab the last two spots – are dominated by top-end quarterbacks.

In the NFC, four teams have locked down playoffs spots. Their quarterbacks? Matt Ryan, Michael Vick and Jay Cutler – all former first-round picks – and Drew Brees, who was the first draft pick in the second round when he was selected by the Chargers. The Rams are ahead in the NFC West, where their quarterback is April's first overall pick Sam Bradford. Three teams are still in contention for the final wild card spot – Green Bay, New York and Tampa Bay. All of them have quarterbacks that were drafted in the first round – Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and Josh Freeman.

Things aren't much different in the AFC. While you have Tom Brady, a former sixth-round pick acknowledged as one of the all-time greats (and arguably the biggest draft-day steal), of the other four teams that are guaranteed to make the postseason, three of them have quarterbacks drafted in the first round – Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez. Only Brady and former teammate Matt Cassel weren't first-round picks. The lone remaining playoff spot open is likely to be taken by the Colts and former first overall draft pick Peyton Manning.

There was a time in the NFL when teams could get to Super Bowls and even win them without having a highly-drafted quarterback. Guys like Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson won Super Bowl titles, but both won championships thanks to dominating defenses in Baltimore and Tampa Bay. It would appear, at the current time in the NFL, that the teams that are successful have quarterbacks that franchises took a risk on greatness and got paid off.

If the Vikings needed a reason to consider doing what needs to be done in order to get back to the playoffs, the answer may well lie in investing in a quarterback. The numbers don't lie. A highly-touted college QB seems to be the ticket to getting to the postseason.

SATURDAY NOTES

  • As the final injury report was released, Favre was listed as doubtful.

  • Favre won't be alone if he is doesn't play Sunday. Wide receiver Sidney Rice and linebacker Erin Henderson, both of whom suffered concussions, likely won't play Sunday, even though Rice is listed as doubtful and Henderson is listed as questionable.

  • Safety Madieu Williams, who sustained a concussion against Chicago two weeks ago, was placed on injured reserve Friday. The team promoted cornerback Marcus Sherels from the practice squad.

  • Sherels may end up active Sunday since cornerback Asher Allen is questionable with an abdominal strain.

  • Joe Webb was fined $5,000 by the league for a flagrant facemask penalty while scrambling against the Eagles.

  • Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson missed practice again Friday. He hasn't practiced all week and is listed as questionable, but reports out of Detroit are that he is expected to play.

  • Detroit cornerback Chris Houston missed practice again Friday with a shoulder injury and is listed as doubtful.

  • The father of Jenn Sterger told the website Radar Online that, if given the chance, he would want to beat up Favre. He was quoted as saying, "I better not meet that guy walking down a dark alley."


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