The Vikings know they want to develop Christian Ponder into their quarterback of the future and Joe Webb has shown he can be a good change-of-pace backup, but how will they approach their third quarterback position in 2012?
According to general manager Rick Spielman, the team is leaving its options open. There could be a developmental quarterback on the practice squad with only two on the active roster. They could bring back veteran Sage Rosenfels for a third contract with the Vikings. Or they could opt to find a different veteran quarterback behind Ponder and Webb.
Although the first option might seem like the least likely, Spielman said the team is "very open" to having only Ponder and Webb on the roster. But with Ponder still needing to prove he can be a viable, reliable starter that can stay healthy, a veteran that could step in if one of the first two quarterbacks gets hurt appears the wiser option.
"I think we have some veterans that we have our eye on that can come in and play that mentor role, but could also come in and play if they had to play as well. Sage did a great job with that last year. There are a couple other guys out there I can't mention that we think would fill that role," Spielman said. "That would be something, as you do your checks and balances – let's say you spend some money in free agency, where is that money going to come from? Can that come from the third quarterback, or is it more valuable to have that third quarterback. … So there is a lot of moving parts in how you make your decision."
Rosenfels joined the Vikings last year after the team cut ties with Donovan McNabb, who lasted only 10 games before the Vikings deemed it better to spend more above and beyond McNabb's $5.05 million salary to have Rosenfels over McNabb. Talks with Rosenfels' agent are expected to take place over the next week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
After Spielman met for about 35 minutes with reporters last week, indications are that the Vikings would be much more inclined to look at trade offers for their No. 3 pick rather than pick QB Robert Griffin III if the top left tackle in the draft, Matt Kalil, is gone.
"I know we're very confident in Christian. But if one of those quarterbacks is too good to pass up, you also have to weigh that in too," said Spielman with his poker face. "But we're very, very confident in what Christian Ponder brings. As we go through this process and our coaches come into this process and we put this thing together in April, I don't know where we'll be."
The Vikings will do their full workup on top QB Andrew Luck, who is a near-lock to go to the Indianapolis Colts with the top pick in the draft, and Griffin, who could go as early as No. 2. The Vikings will also attend their pro days, although there are other prospects from Stanford and Baylor they will want to watch, as well.
"You never know what happens on draft day, and I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared," Spielman said.
But in all likelihood, the Vikings' third quarterback on the 2012 roster will be a veteran from free agency.
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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