Free-agent exam: Vikings vs. the QBs

The Vikings could be looking for a veteran backup if they aren't able to re-sign Sage Rosenfels, but the options that fit their needs aren't very plentiful. We examine the top names that make sense, along with listing those scheduled for free agency who shouldn't get much Vikings attention.

After a one-year period of turnover at the position that took the team from Brett Favre to Joe Webb to Donovan McNabb to Christian Ponder in the starting seat, the Minnesota Vikings finally appear to have some stability in their first two spots on the quarterback depth chart.

PURPLE REVIEW

Christian Ponder is the favorite to start, despite calls for Webb to have an equal opportunity. After McNabb flopped in the first six weeks, the Vikings made the proper (albeit late) call to move to Ponder.

The rookie underwent the expected struggles and admitted that there were cycles in his development, from initial confidence to ensuing self-pressure to overthinking things. He had only four games in which he completed more than 60 percent of his passes, but the Vikings are ready to back him going into his second season.

Webb's chances were few and far between in 2011. He was used in the "Blazer Package," with little success, and started one game when Ponder was injured. The assessment is that he is an exciting backup to have but his effectiveness might be limited if defensive coordinators focused a game-plan against him.

THE FREE-AGENT PREVIEW

There are several high-end and starting free agents, but with a desire to develop Ponder, players like Drew Brees, Matt Flynn, Alex Smith and even Kyle Orton aren't going to be considered by the Vikings. That puts the Vikings in backup mode, where there are several intriguing options.

Sage Rosenfels – We put him at the top because he is the most likely candidate, given his travels with general manager Rick Spielman and the late familiarity he gained with Bill Musgrave's offense for the final month of the 2011 season with the Vikings. Rosenfels has never thrown a pass with the Vikings, but prior to 2009, he was a 62.5-percent completion guy who has 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

Jason Campbell -- He spent the last two years hovering around the 60-percent completion mark with an 84 passer rating with the Oakland Raiders. After two years in Oakland and the previous five with the Washington Redskins, he fits the veteran category, but he might be looking for a starting opportunity, which won't come in Minnesota.

Vince Young – Vikings quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson was given a lot of credit for Young's early development when the two were together with the Tennessee Titans, but he never did reach his full potential and stumbled badly last year when given a chance with the Philadelphia Eagles, the squad he dubbed the "Dream Team." In six games (three starts), Young threw four touchdowns and nine interceptions and had only a 60.8 rating, not the kind of numbers that make you think veteran mentor.

Chad Henne – After Spielman left the Miami Dolphins, Henne joined the club. But the former Michigan Wolverine was never able to adequately establish himself as a reliable starter, throwing more interceptions (33) than touchdowns (27) over his two years as a the main man in Miami. Last year, he started only four games and there is plenty of speculation that the Dolphins will pursue Flynn. But, like Young, Henne doesn't offer the Vikings much in the line of a trusted veteran.

Shaun Hill – The former rookie free agent with the Minnesota Vikings could be just what they are looking for a decade later. Hill spent his first four seasons in the league (2002-05) with the Vikings, never throwing a pass. He was gone before Leslie Frazier or Spielman arrived. He got his first real opportunity with the San Francisco 49ers, where he started 18 games over a three-year period, throwing 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In 2010, he joined the Detroit Lions, starting 10 games when Matthew Stafford was injured and completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 2,686 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He or Rosenfels seem to offer the best of what the Vikings need – a backup with experience who can perform adequately if needed.

OTHER FREE-AGENT QBs

Donovan McNabb, Brian Hoyer, David Garrad, Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Jon Kitna, Trent Edwards, Dan Orlovsky, Jake Delhomme, Josh Johnson, Byron Leftwich, J.T. O'Sullivan, Brodie Croyle, Patrick Ramsey, Jim Sorgi, Kyle Boller, Luke McCown, Charlie Batch, David Carr, Charlie Whitehurst, Kellen Clemens, A.J. Feeley, Chris Redman, Josh McCown, Dennis Dixon, Charlie Frye, Jeff Garcia, Mark Brunell, J.P. Losman, Drew Stanton, Chase Daniel, Brian Brohm, Troy Smith, Caleb Hanie, Kevin O'Connell.


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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The assessment is that he is an exciting backup to have but his effectiveness might be limited if defensive coordinators focused a game-plan against him. There are several high-end and starting free agents, but with a desire to develop Ponder, players like Drew Brees, Matt Flynn, Alex Smith and even Kyle Orton aren't going to be considered by the Vikings. That puts the Vikings in backup mode, where there are several intriguing options. Sage Rosenfels – We put him at the top because he is the most likely candidate, given his travels with general manager Rick Spielman and the late familiarity he gained with Bill Musgrave's offense for the final month of the 2011 season with the Vikings. Rosenfels has never thrown a pass with the Vikings, but prior to 2009, he was a 62.5-percent completion guy who has 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Jason Campbell -- He spent the last two years hovering around the 60-percent completion mark with an 84 passer rating with the Oakland Raiders. After two years in Oakland and the previous five with the Washington Redskins, he fits the veteran category, but he might be looking for a starting opportunity, which won't come in Minnesota. Vince Young – Vikings quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson was given a lot of credit for Young's early development when the two were together with the Tennessee Titans, but he never did reach his full potential and stumbled badly last year when given a chance with the Philadelphia Eagles, the squad he dubbed the \"Dream Team.\" In six games (three starts), Young threw four touchdowns and nine interceptions and had only a 60.8 rating, not the kind of numbers that make you think veteran mentor. Chad Henne – After Spielman left the Miami Dolphins, Henne joined the club. But the former Michigan Wolverine was never able to adequately establish himself as a reliable starter, throwing more interceptions (33) than touchdowns (27) over his two years as a the main man in Miami. Last year, he started only four games and there is plenty of speculation that the Dolphins will pursue Flynn. But, like Young, Henne doesn't offer the Vikings much in the line of a trusted veteran. Shaun Hill – The former rookie free agent with the Minnesota Vikings could be just what they are looking for a decade later. Hill spent his first four seasons in the league (2002-05) with the Vikings, never throwing a pass. He was gone before Leslie Frazier or Spielman arrived. He got his first real opportunity with the San Francisco 49ers, where he started 18 games over a three-year period, throwing 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In 2010, he joined the Detroit Lions, starting 10 games when Matthew Stafford was injured and completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 2,686 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He or Rosenfels seem to offer the best of what the Vikings need – a backup with experience who can perform adequately if needed. Donovan McNabb, Brian Hoyer, David Garrad, Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Jon Kitna, Trent Edwards, Dan Orlovsky, Jake Delhomme, Josh Johnson, Byron Leftwich, J.T. O'Sullivan, Brodie Croyle, Patrick Ramsey, Jim Sorgi, Kyle Boller, Luke McCown, Charlie Batch, David Carr, Charlie Whitehurst, Kellen Clemens, A.J. Feeley, Chris Redman, Josh McCown, Dennis Dixon, Charlie Frye, Jeff Garcia, Mark Brunell, J.P. Losman, Drew Stanton, Chase Daniel, Brian Brohm, Troy Smith, Caleb Hanie, Kevin O'Connell. 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