Webb survived worrisome weekend

Joe Webb tried to distract himself as best he could as the Vikings' roster cuts kept coming over the weekend. He never received the phone call he dreaded.

A corn dog or two served as Joe Webb's comfort food over the weekend.

The Vikings receiver-turned-quarterback-then-back-to-receiver was in a precarious labor situation. The Vikings knew who their top four receivers were going to be – Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jarius Wright – but Webb was on the roster bubble, especially considering the Vikings only kept five receivers instead of six.

He spent Saturday trying to occupy his mind on things other than football and the looming 5 p.m. Central deadline for the Vikings to make their roster transactions to trim from 75 players to the NFL-mandated 53 on the roster.

"I wasn't worried about it. I did things to take my mind off of it. The only way I could control it was in the way I performed on the field. I just left it out on the field and let the chips fall wherever they fall," Webb said.

"I went to the State Fair, ate a couple corn dogs, watched football and played video games. My kids got me away, too. I had a lot on my mind."

He knew if he got a phone call from the team's Winter Park offices, it wouldn't be a good sign. He wanted to avoid the phone call and was happy it never came.

"You still don't know, even when 5 o'clock hits. You've still got teams that move around (with) their roster," Webb said Monday. "It's set in stone now that I'm with the Vikings and I'm very happy."

But there is still progress to be made.

The Vikings selected Webb in the sixth round of the 2010 draft as a receiver. But after then-coach Brad Childress saw him throw a ball toward the end of the Vikings rookie minicamp that year, he sent Webb to work with the quarterbacks, where he has toiled until this April.

After Webb struggled in the team's playoff game at Green Bay in January, they decided that his future in the NFL, if he had any, would be at receiver.

"When they asked me to move, I was all in for the team's sake," he said. "It went good since they moved me back in April. I've just been working every day trying to get better. I've still got a long ways to go."

Despite making the team, there is still pressure to continue to develop in the finer points of being a receiver.

Webb is entering the final year of his rookie contract and scheduled to make $630,000.

"You've got to work your craft. That's our job as an NFL professional. … You've got to work at it. You work at, then hard work pays off," Webb said.

After completing 88 of 152 passes for 856 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions (a 66.6 rating) over his three years as a backup (starting four games total), he is being asked to be on the receiving end of passes these days.

He's about five months into his transformation, but has seen improvement in a few areas.

"My route-running, coming out of my breaks. Also continuing to catch the ball well – everything that any receiver would want to work on," he said.

Frazier said it goes beyond receiver for the athletic Webb. Unlike most former quarterbacks, he can also make contributions on special teams.

"I like his versatility and he showed some things on special teams. We saw the growth as a receiver, from the time we made the decision back in the spring, but also the additions he gives us on special teams," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "That's probably what really solidified, in our minds, that we had another guy who could be another core player for us on special teams and make a difference there, along with being a quality receiver. As he continues to develop as a receiver along with what he can bring on special teams, that was probably the deciding factor."

In other words, no need for the distraction that corn dogs can supply.

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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