Yotter: RG3 not a serious Vikings option

All the predraft hype surrounding Robert Griffin III and teams wanting to trade up to get him make for interesting drama. But when it comes to the Vikings, they are making sure they know their options and focusing on overall roster development.

The Captain Obvious re-tweets and comments were in full force Monday. The St. Louis Rams will likely trade the No. 2 pick in the draft. That's been apparent for at least a week and was further cemented when Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III performed well at the NFL Scouting Combine, especially when wowing observers of his 40-yard dash, which he ran in 4.41 seconds.

With Griffin's stock either increased or cemented, depending on the evaluator's previous view, the Rams were in the catbird seat of the draft. They have the ability to draft Griffin, trade that pick for a healthy ransom or stay at No. 2 and pick the best non-quarterback. We already know they aren't going to draft a quarterback because new head coach Jeff Fisher said trading quarterback Sam Bradford is not an option. And we already know they have been talking seriously about trading that pick.

Where does that leave the Vikings? Right where they were before the combine started: In a position to draft the best non-quarterback after the Rams trade their pick to a team targeting Griffin. It also leaves them committed to Ponder, just as they would be if the No. 2 pick passes on Griffin, despite the Vikings performing their "due diligence" and interviewing Griffin.

"I think Christian went through what most all rookie quarterbacks go through. When he first came in and took over the starting job, I remember him starting against Green Bay at home, he did a lot of great things. And, he came in with no fear or no trepidation on anything," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "He just went out there and played. As those young quarterbacks start seeing different schemes and they are starting to blitz Christian because he is such a great athlete and can make so many plays on his feet, he did make some interceptions and started turning the ball over a little bit. I thought you saw him take a little bit of a step back. But I think that's normal for any young quarterback."

Despite Ponder's struggles in his rookie season, the Vikings believe there is enough there to continue to develop him as their starter. All indications are that they will stick with him and draft either the best blindside protector in the draft with USC left tackle Matt Kalil (the most likely pick) or a playmaker to give Ponder more receiving options. Either way, drafting Griffin remains a longshot at best.

The Vikings believe Ponder just needs more surrounding talent to justify their selection of him as last year's No. 12 pick.

"If you went back and looked at all the rookie quarterbacks who took over at some point their rookie year, all the way when Jay Cutler took over for Jake Plummer, and when Eli took over for Kurt Warner with the Giants, you see the same type of results," Spielman said. "The one thing I know is he got great playing experience last year, got an opportunity to see a lot of things. I know that will continue to help him grow to be the quarterback we drafted with the 12th overall pick last year."

Griffin is intriguing, for sure. He's a playmaking quarterback who runs fast and interviews well. But the Vikings selecting him would also delay the overall development of the rest of the roster. There would be no surefire left tackle, as the best ones – including Kalil, Riley Reiff and Jonathan Martin – would be gone before the Vikings select in the second round, and free agency doesn't provide any solid, long-term starting options.

Despite his selection for the Vikings being against all odds, Griffin's likeable ways and impressive talents are titillating.

"He had a great year this year. He has a strong arm. He's a very athletic quarterback. He had a lot of similarities, not as tall, but you've seen a lot of things (that compare to) Cam Newton last year at Auburn," Spielman said. "I think some people are going to make those comparisons, except for the difference in height. … I know my younger brother had done their bowl game and said what a great kid he was and first-class and the leadership. I think both those guys have everything you're looking for in a franchise quarterback."

Spielman admitted that the Vikings would interview both Griffin and Luck as part of their preparation for any draft-day scenario, but it might just help them get a better gauge on the value of the No. 3 pick for a trade if by some unlikely circumstance they aren't both gone in the first two picks on April 26.

In the meantime, the Vikings will formulate their continuing-development plan for Ponder and look for surrounding talent.

"(Offensive coordinator) Bill Musgrave did a great job with Christian utilizing his skill set, trying to take some things off his plate to make sure he was comfortable with the offense – what he felt comfortable running for that game and the game plan," Spielman said. "I think it built up and continued to grow the more Christian felt comfortable in the system."


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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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"The Captain Obvious re-tweets and comments were in full force Monday. The St. Louis Rams will likely trade the No. 2 pick in the draft. That's been apparent for at least a week and was further cemented when Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III performed well at the NFL Scouting Combine, especially when wowing observers of his 40-yard dash, which he ran in 4.41 seconds.

With Griffin's stock either increased or cemented, depending on the evaluator's previous view, the Rams were in the catbird seat of the draft. They have the ability to draft Griffin, trade that pick for a healthy ransom or stay at No. 2 and pick the best non-quarterback. We already know they aren't going to draft a quarterback because new head coach Jeff Fisher said trading quarterback Sam Bradford is not an option. And we already know they have been talking seriously about trading that pick.

Where does that leave the Vikings? Right where they were before the combine started: In a position to draft the best non-quarterback after the Rams trade their pick to a team targeting Griffin. It also leaves them committed to Ponder, just as they would be if the No. 2 pick passes on Griffin, despite the Vikings performing their \"due diligence\" and interviewing Griffin.

\"I think Christian went through what most all rookie quarterbacks go through. When he first came in and took over the starting job, I remember him starting against Green Bay at home, he did a lot of great things. And, he came in with no fear or no trepidation on anything,\" Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. \"He just went out there and played. As those young quarterbacks start seeing different schemes and they are starting to blitz Christian because he is such a great athlete and can make so many plays on his feet, he did make some interceptions and started turning the ball over a little bit. I thought you saw him take a little bit of a step back. But I think that's normal for any young quarterback.\"

Despite Ponder's struggles in his rookie season, the Vikings believe there is enough there to continue to develop him as their starter. All indications are that they will stick with him and draft either the best blindside protector in the draft with USC left tackle Matt Kalil (the most likely pick) or a playmaker to give Ponder more receiving options. Either way, drafting Griffin remains a longshot at best.

The Vikings believe Ponder just needs more surrounding talent to justify their selection of him as last year's No. 12 pick.

\"If you went back and looked at all the rookie quarterbacks who took over at some point their rookie year, all the way when Jay Cutler took over for Jake Plummer, and when Eli took over for Kurt Warner with the Giants, you see the same type of results,\" Spielman said. \"The one thing I know is he got great playing experience last year, got an opportunity to see a lot of things. I know that will continue to help him grow to be the quarterback we drafted with the 12th overall pick last year.\"

Griffin is intriguing, for sure. He's a playmaking quarterback who runs fast and interviews well. But the Vikings selecting him would also delay the overall development of the rest of the roster. There would be no surefire left tackle, as the best ones – including Kalil, Riley Reiff and Jonathan Martin – would be gone before the Vikings select in the second round, and free agency doesn't provide any solid, long-term starting options.

Despite his selection for the Vikings being against all odds, Griffin's likeable ways and impressive talents are titillating.

\"He had a great year this year. He has a strong arm. He's a very athletic quarterback. He had a lot of similarities, not as tall, but you've seen a lot of things (that compare to) Cam Newton last year at Auburn,\" Spielman said. \"I think some people are going to make those comparisons, except for the difference in height. … I know my younger brother had done their bowl game and said what a great kid he was and first-class and the leadership. I think both those guys have everything you're looking for in a franchise quarterback.\"

Spielman admitted that the Vikings would interview both Griffin and Luck as part of their preparation for any draft-day scenario, but it might just help them get a better gauge on the value of the No. 3 pick for a trade if by some unlikely circumstance they aren't both gone in the first two picks on April 26.

In the meantime, the Vikings will formulate their continuing-development plan for Ponder and look for surrounding talent.

\"(Offensive coordinator) Bill Musgrave did a great job with Christian utilizing his skill set, trying to take some things off his plate to make sure he was comfortable with the offense – what he felt comfortable running for that game and the game plan,\" Spielman said. \"I think it built up and continued to grow the more Christian felt comfortable in the system.\"


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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