A Thursday night of Purple intrigue

The Vikings don't play Thursday night, but Vikings fans should have an interest in the game to see how new starter Brady Quinn performs for the Cleveland Browns. If he does well the rest of the year, Derek Anderson could be on the trading block after this season.

There will be plenty of interest as the NFL begins playing Thursday night games on the NFL Network between now and Week 16 of the schedule. But perhaps some of the primary interest in tomorrow's premiere between the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns could be the Vikings organization.

The Browns, who as an organization give former players like Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar a surprising amount of sway when it comes to organizational decisions, made the move after Sunday's game to turn the offense over from QB Derek Anderson to Brady Quinn. It is expected that, unless he falls flat on his face, Quinn will be given the opportunity to start the rest of the season and, if things go as hoped, for years to come.

Earlier this year before free agency began, the Browns rewarded Anderson with a three-year, $24 million contract that will become an issue if Anderson is the backup and Quinn is the starter. You simply don't pay that kind of money to your backup quarterback. Most teams would love to have a veteran and a young potential franchise player on the roster, but when the expensive QB is the one on the bench, that doesn't fly with ownership.

At least one Twin Cities newspaper wag reported the Vikings offered a king's ransom for Quinn prior to the trade deadline – a report met skeptically by many insiders who questioned how the Vikes could afford to part with two No. 1 picks (as reported) when they already gave up a lot to secure Jared Allen before this year's draft. If the Vikings were that interested in Quinn, would that interest also lend itself toward Anderson? In fact, one source close to the Browns organization quickly shot down the rumor as false.

The fact of the matter is that the Browns need to get rid of Anderson's huge salary if in fact Quinn is going to be the QB of the future. There is recent precedent for such moves. The Chargers had a solid veteran in Drew Brees and a young up-and-comer in Philip Rivers in a similar situation. It was clear Rivers was the future, because the Chargers traded the No. 1 pick in the draft (Eli Manning) to get him. But Brees suddenly was playing the best ball of his career and the Chargers franchised him for one year to keep him. Eventually, they had to cut the cord and Brees signed as a free agent with New Orleans.

Could the same be in store for Anderson? If Quinn proves to be a rallying point for the Cleveland team Thursday and beyond, the Browns will look to move Anderson in the offseason. With Gus Frerotte not viewed as a long-term answer, the Vikings would be one of a handful of teams that will have an interest in Anderson if he becomes available. For that reason, Vikings fans may have more interest in Thursday's game and the rest of the Cleveland schedule than they might have just a couple of weeks ago.

WEDNESDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings return to practice today, at which time we try to get an update on the condition of Jared Allen. Brad Childress said Monday that he doesn't know Allen's status for Sunday's game and that much of it may depend on how much pain he can tolerate. VU will be in the locker room. If Allen makes an appearance, we'll pass on what we learn.

  • Daunte Culpepper officially signed his deal with Detroit Tuesday and there are some questions as to whether he will be asked to start as soon as Sunday. Jon Kitna has already been put on injured reserve and backup Dan Orlovsky is also out of the picture, meaning the choice could come down to Culpepper or Drew Stanton, who has done little to earn praise from his own coaching staff.

  • The injury Matt Schaub suffered in the first half Sunday against the Vikings could be pretty serious. He is expected to miss a month, if not the rest of the season as a result of the knee injury suffered in the first half against Vikings. On his weekly radio show, Texans coach Gary Kubiak said he thought Jared Allen intentionally came in low on Schaub.

  • The "kick-ass offense" might be picking up some steam. Aside from scoring nine offensive touchdowns in the last two games, the Vikings are second in the league with nine touchdowns of 20 yards or more. Only Dallas (10) has more.

  • Former Viking Patrick Chukwurah was one of several defensive ends being worked out Tuesday by Seattle in the event that starter Patrick Kerney (shoulder) is out for the year. The Seahawks apparently have not reached out to KGB.

  • Dysfunction Junction continues to roll through Oakland, as the Raiders are expected to release DeAngelo Hall, less than nine months after trading a second-round pick and paying the former Falcons CB $8 million to play just eight games. There are rumors out of Oakland that Javon Walker, who was given $11 million in signing bonus to the dismay of right-thinking people everywhere, could be the next to go in a burning of money by Al Davis.

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