Vikings Narrow Quarterback Focus

Who is making the cut on the quarterback search and who is out — at least for now? Three veteran candidates have emerged as possibilities to backup Brad Johnson while another appears to be out of the picture.

The Vikings don't seem to be in a hurry to complete their search for a backup to quarterback Brad Johnson after trading Daunte Culpepper to the Dolphins, but three names are emerging as possibilities and indications are one has been ruled out.

The Vikings might not be able to make a move for a veteran quarterback until they know the status of Seattle guard Steve Hutchinson. Minnesota signed Hutchinson to a seven-year, $49 million offer sheet on Sunday and might not know until Sunday night whether Hutchinson will be counting $13 million against the Vikings' 2006 salary cap or Seattle's cap. That could delay their ability to sign a backup quarterback this weekend, but that hasn't stopped them from evaluating those that are available in free agency.

The Vikings may have an interested in free agent quarterback Gus Frerotte, who was released by the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday when their acquisition of Culpepper was complete. The release of Frerotte reportedly saved the Dolphins $4.38 million in cap room, but the Miami Herald is reporting that the Dolphins have an interest in re-signing him as well.

Frerotte likely will command strong interest around the league with several teams shopping for quarterbacks and the quality supply less than the demand. The Denver Post reports that the St. Louis Rams have an interest in Frerotte, who played for former Vikings offensive coordinator and current Rams head coach Scott Linehan in Minnesota and Miami over the past three years.

The 6-3, 233-pounder has completed 54.1 percent of his passes with 95 touchdowns and 79 interceptions and a passer rating of 75.3 over his 12-year NFL career with the Redskins, Lions, Broncos, Bengals, Vikings and Dolphins.

The Vikings have also expressed an interest in Tampa Bay free agent quarterback Brian Griese. The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder has played eight years with Denver, Miami and Tampa Bay. He has a 63.1 completion percentage, throwing 103 touchdowns and 78 interceptions for a career passer rating of 84.8.

Finally, the Vikings are keeping their options open with quarterback Joey Harrington, who is expected to be released by the Detroit Lions any day now after they have signed Jon Kitna and Josh McCown, who will compete for the starting job.

Harrington, at 6-4, 220 pounds, has had a scattered four-year career with the Lions. His Detroit days are expected to end shortly, with a completion percentage of 54.7, 60 touchdowns and 62 interceptions for a career rating of 68.1. While Harrington's statistics aren't great, the appeal with him would be his relatively young career and the opportunity for Vikings head coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to groom him.

One player who has been ruled out as not being a good fit for the Vikings offense, according to a league source, is New Orleans Saints free agent quarterback Aaron Brooks. Brooks was dispensable in New Orleans after the Saints signed Drew Brees to a six-year, $60 million contract.

Green Bay Packers third-string quarterback Craig Nall, an unrestricted free agent who visited the Vikings on Monday, reportedly visited the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. Nall is seeking a job as a No. 2 quarterback, and indications are the Vikings might not view him as a solid No. 2 behind Johnson.

The Vikings never did express an interest in McCown, despite reports to the contrary elsewhere.

Viking Update Top Stories