Path, if not player, takes shape at backup QB

The Vikings are following an expected theme with their interests in backup quarterbacks.

The Vikings are taking the expected path with their interests in a backup quarterback: targeting quarterbacks with experience in coordinator Norv Turner’s offense.

The tactic makes sense since many players have relaying the complexities of Turner’s offense, making familiarity with it a desired trait, if not a prerequisite.

The need for a backup is prevalent after the Vikings agreed to trade veteran Matt Cassel and his $4.75 million salary-cap hit to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for mid- and late-round draft picks. Cassel came to the Vikings in 2013, a year before Turner, and brought with him plenty of experience in different offenses as he had already been through a handful of coordinators during his career.

Both of the Vikings’ reported targets so far in free agency – Shaun Hill and Brian Hoyer – have previous experience with Turner. Hill was a backup with the San Francisco 49ers in 2006 when Turner was their offensive coordinator. It was Hill’s first year away from the Vikings after he came to them as an undrafted free agent in 2002, made the roster and continued there until 2005. He only got into one game for them, in 2005, and didn’t throw a pass.

Since then, however, his role has increased. In 2007, he played in three games, starting two, for the 49ers, and over the next two years he started a combined 14 games for them.

After going to the Detroit Lions in 2010, he started 12 games for them over the next four years. Last year, he was expected to back up Sam Bradford in St. Louis, but when he was lost for the year before the season began, Hill ended up making eight starts. He completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 1,657 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also fumbled seven times.

The Vikings also have a younger option on their radar, reportedly showing interest in pending Cleveland Browns free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, who played under Turner in 2013 there. During that season, Hoyer started three games, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 615 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. Hoyer got his most extensive playing time last year with the Browns while Turner was in Minnesota. Hoyer started 13 games in 2014, completing only 55.3 percent of his passes for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

However, Hoyer is said to prefer to sign with a team where he can compete for the starting job, according to ESPN, and the Vikings are entrenched with Teddy Bridgewater as their starter moving forward.

So far, there has been no reported formal interest between the Vikings and Jason Campbell, but, like Hoyer, Campbell played under Turner in 2013, starting eight games and completing 56.6 percent of his 317 passes for 2,015 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions and a 76.9 rating. Over his 10-year career, Campbell has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 87 touchdowns and 60 interceptions and an 81.7 rating.

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Still to come: Running back | Wide receiver |
OFFENSE: Quarterback | Tight end | Offensive tackle | Offensive guard | Center
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