Joe Webb's role this week will be even more versatile than usual, but it doesn't just have to do with how he is being implemented sparingly into the game plan. Much of his focus this week will be on imitating perhaps the most polarizing player in the NFL – Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
As the Vikings' third-string quarterback, Webb's practice duties will be mainly focused on providing a good scout-team look of Tebow leading the Broncos offense.
"There is a lot of unique quarterbacks. Everybody has their different style. Some play the Tebow way to run-pass option type guys. Everyone has their different styles," Webb said.
"I'm sure (Vikings coaches) have some sort of gadget that they want me to perform for the Denver offense."
Tebow has created quite a stir in the NFL over the last month, as he has started the last six games for the Broncos and won four of the last five games after the Broncos started out winning only two of their first seven games.
Tebow is one of the most talked-about players in the NFL because of his willingness to talk about his religious views and his unconventional style of play at the quarterback position. Last week against the San Diego Chargers, he completed only 9 of 18 passes, but rushed the ball 22 times for 67 yards, becoming the first player to throw more than 15 passes and carry more than 15 times in the same game since New York Titans quarterback Al Dorow in 1960, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It's actually a role that fits Webb quite well. He said it reminds him of his college days as a quarterback at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he became the only quarterback in NCAA history to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and was one of three players in the country in 2009 to pass for a touchdown, run for a touchdown and catch a touchdown.
The big question is whether Tebow can continue to thrive and even survive running that much in the NFL.
"If he keeps his body healthy, his body is built Ford tough," Webb said. "He ran a lot at Florida. He's been doing it for a long time. As long as you keep your body healthy and you keep it going and no one can stop you, then why change?"
But the interesting week of practice for Webb doesn't end with him running the scout team for the Vikings defense. On offense, he could receive more looks as a wide receiver, a role that has been gaining momentum for him in recent weeks.
Now that the Vikings lost another receiver, starter Michael Jenkins to a torn meniscus, Webb, who was drafted for his possibilities as a receiver, could see some more reps at receiver. For now, Percy Harvin, Devin Aromashodu and Greg Camarillo are expected to be the most-used receivers, and rookie Stephen Burton could also see some playing time, but Webb will also be a consideration, head coach Leslie Frazier said.
"We actually had Joe as a part of our receiver package a week ago just because where we were with (TE Kyle Rudolph being injured) and the fact that we didn't have Stephen on the (active roster)," Frazier said. "We'll take a look at that as well as we're trying to make sure we have some people available if something were to happen to a Percy or Camarillo or anyone else."
Webb said him working more at receiver is "still up for grabs," but he continues to say he will do whatever gets him on the field and believes he can make an impact at receiver.
"I think I would. I was asked to play wideout before, so I'm kind of familiar with the position – played a little bit when I got drafted here in rookie minicamp," Webb said. "I'm pretty familiar with the position. Any ways get the offense a boost.
"Everyone knows I can jump. Got good speed. Just try to compete for the ball when the ball is in the air. As long as I compete for the ball when it's in the air and take it away from the (defensive backs) and make sure they don't take it away from me, that's all they can ask for."
Being clocked at about a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and registering a 42½ vertical, according to Webb, there is little doubt about his athleticism. The question is how to best use it.
He said he doesn't have much of a preference whether his opportunity comes at quarterback or receiver, "as long as I get a chance to get on the field and try to make plays and help get this offense a big boost."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Webb gets unique dual role this week
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