Former-Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Joel Stave knew that there was a good chance he would go undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was a bubble player who could have possibly sneaked into one of the late rounds, but was fully prepared to go undrafted.
Once the draft ended and he did not get selected, he had five teams reach out to him - the Minnesota Vikings and four others - and then he discussed with his agent about which would be the best fit for him. He ultimately decided he would give it a try at Minnesota because he feels as though they provided him the best opportunity to make a 53-man roster.
“I think the way that coach (Norv) Turner runs the offense, I think is pretty consistent with what I was doing in college,” Stave explained. “Obviously, a lot of new terminology and things like that, that I need to learn, but I like the way they coach here. And I know that they keep three quarterbacks on the roster, so it gives you a good opportunity just to compete to earn a spot.”
After spending his college days in Wisconsin, Stave likely got quite a bit of grief from his friends for joining the Vikings. A lot of people on that side of boarder are die-hard Green Bay Packers fans, but at the end of the day the NFL is a business and he had to do what he felt was best for him.
Another added bonus that Stave received by signing with the Vikings is that he now has the opportunity to play for the team that he grew up cheering for.
“My dad grew up in North Dakota so he was always a Vikings fan,” Stave said, “so me and my brother were too.”
It is going to be a bit of an uphill battle for Stave to make the opening-day roster because the Vikings already had their three quarterbacks in place following the 2015 season. Teddy Bridgewater is the starter, Shaun Hill is the backup and Taylor Heinicke is the developmental prospect that the team seems to really like.
But Stave feels as though the coaching staff is going to give him every possible opportunity to earn a roster spot and one thing that he has going for him is that he looks the part of an NFL quarterback. He measures in at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds and has an NFL-caliber arm.
The biggest thing he is going to have to do now is learn the playbook as quickly as possible and then work on his accuracy. You could tell that Stave was still working on getting comfortable throwing to a group of new receivers during Friday’s rookie minicamp. His throws were a little sporadic from time to time, but there is potential there.
He will have to harness that potential and turn it into on-field production, though, if he hopes to make the team at the end of training camp.