Leslie Frazier said last month that if the Vikings draft a quarterback – they will almost certainly draft one in the first two days – that person will determine if they need a "bridge-the-gap" veteran quarterback.
Frazier has also referenced the rookie wonders of the recent past at quarterback. Joe Flacco in Baltimore and Matt Ryan in Atlanta had immediate success as rookies. But if the Vikings don't find a rookie quarterback they are comfortable starting at the outset in 2011, there are some trade options for them to consider after a collective bargaining agreement is reached and trades are allowed.
Philadelphia placed the exclusive franchise tag on Michael Vick, meaning he should make more than $15 million in 2011, and showing the team's confidence in him as their quarterback of the future. However, that leaves Kevin Kolb, the Eagles' starter for four of the first seven weeks of 2010, in a precarious position.
Asked about the possibility of trading Kolb, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said, "We're still evaluating all of our options at all our positions and we'll go through that and obviously we feel really fortunate to have good quarterbacks. That's Michael, that's Kevin, we have a lot of confidence in Mike Kafka. That's a position that we're always going to want to be strong at and we'll continue to have that philosophy."
Kolb completed 60.8 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and seven interceptions and a 76.1 rating. He is starting material, but he's scheduled to make only $1.392 million in 2011, the final year of his contract. The money wouldn't be an issue for any team looking to trade for him, but they would likely want to agree to a multi-year deal before making the trade.
Roseman declined to say if the Eagles have had any trade talks on Kolb, and they can't officially make a trade until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
"We don't discuss any discussions, external or internal," Roseman said.
But last offseason the Eagles got a second- and fifth-round pick in trading Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins to clear the path for Kolb to be a starter. Whether that sets the market for Kolb or not isn't clear.
"I think you're just projecting on any particular player what you would get and at this point it's all just kind of speculation," Roseman said.
For his career, Kolb has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,082 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 18 games.
"Kevin Kolb is a great player. We have a lot of confidence in Kevin. We gave him the starting job. We traded Donovan last year," Roseman said. "He has all the tools you're looking for to be a starting quarterback and we feel lucky to have him."
Whether it's McNabb, Kolb, Vick or others, the Eagles have had success finding viable quarterbacks over recent years.
"You want 'em to be smart, you want 'em to be athletic, you want 'em to be accurate, you want 'em to be able to get the ball out," Roseman said. "It's hard to evaluate quarterbacks. We bring all those evaluations back to our head coach, and then he's got this expertise that really takes it to another level and makes you feel more confident in your evaluation."
If not the Eagles and Kolb, the Vikings could find another potential trade partner with the Denver Broncos, who also have a few quarterbacks on the roster with varying degrees of starting experience and success – Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn. New Broncos head coach John Fox said Thursday that he considers Orton to be the starter.
"I don't think we'll really figure it out (the quarterback situation) until we start competing. It's a group of three I think are very capable," Fox said. "Right now, I think Kyle Orton's our starter. We've got a very young guy, a high draft pick in Tim Tebow who got his feet wet last year toward the end of the season. He did an outstanding job. He's got some of the intangibles you're looking for.
"And then, shoot, Brady Quinn I'm looking forward to seeing play. I've watched him play a little bit in Cleveland. He's a young guy that's got about 13 starts under his belt. So we'll see. But all three I think I'm excited about."
Fox had an interesting answer when asked a follow-up question by a reporter who said rumors have Orton on the trade market while Fox is now saying he's the starter.
"I think it'd be pretty hard to be both," Fox said. "But as far as I'm concerned, he's under contract, and he's our starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos."
Of course, that could all change in the blink of a collective bargaining agreement and a legitimate trade offer from the Vikings or any other team. But, unlike Kolb, Orton's contract is more prohibitive.
The six-year veteran of the Bears and Broncos is scheduled to make nearly $7.4 million in 2011. Like Kolb, Orton is also entering the final year of his contract.
No matter what the Vikings' starting quarterback is right now, they will have options that extend behind the prospects at this week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
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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