With the NFL and the players association agreeing to meet this week to try to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, if they can come to an agreement free agency will begin shortly thereafter.
Among the priorities the Vikings will have is trying to land a veteran quarterback. The good news is that, if the league retains the four-year standard for unrestricted free agency, 28 quarterbacks will be available as UFAs. The bad news is how many of them the Vikings should have an interest in or believe can be the QB of the present (if not the future)?
Here is a breakdown of the quarterbacks that will be on the market and where they may fit in with the Vikings:
The Starters -- Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Pennington, Kerry Collins, Rex Grossman, Marc Bulger, Trent Edwards, Matt Moore, Kyle Boller. While none of these players jump off the page at you, at least they have starting experience and could be someone that the Vikings use as a stop-gap while they groom a new quarterback, whether it be Joe Webb or someone acquired in the draft.
The Former Vikings – Tarvaris Jackson, Tyler Thigpen, Patrick Ramsey, Todd Bouman. The history of the Vikings and T-Jack has been a storied one, but he knows the locker room better than any of the others. Thigpen is the only one of the group that is young and the type that would be of interest to the Vikings. At least he doesn't have bad feelings about the team. He was lost due to trying to slip him through waivers, not being released or allowed to leave in the first place.
The Career Backups -- Billy Volek, Charlie Frye, Todd Collins, Chris Simms, Jim Sorgi. These guys have been career backups for a reason. Each of them have been spot starters due to injury, but none of them have been able to prove enough to win a starting job.
And the Rest -- Troy Smith, Kellen Clemens, Luke McCown, Drew Stanton, Brodie Croyle, Brian St. Pierre. If the Vikings go with any of these guys, they could be in line to reunite college teammates Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart because they would be in line for the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.
If these guys show us anything, it's that a lot of names don't mean a lot of talent. If anything, it should get the Vikings working to try to swing a trade for Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb or Vince Young. If not, it could be a long season for the Vikings offense in the first year of the post-Favre era.
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Free-agent QBs: Names, but not much talent
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