While Gus Frerotte considers his career options and whether he wants to return to the Vikings next season, the team is also conducting its due diligence with quarterbacks available through the draft.
USC quarterback Mark Sanchez said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that he is meeting with Vikings officials on Saturday. They were just one of many teams investigating the junior quarterback.
"It's like speed dating. There's teams everywhere and then ring that – beep, beep – and you switch," Sanchez said of the 15-minute meetings with different NFL teams each evening in Indianapolis.
Before that, Sanchez had lunch with former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who is now the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, the team that holds the No. 1 overall pick.
Sanchez said he thinks he should be the No. 1 overall pick.
"Absolutely. I'd better think that. And I think (Georgia QB Matt Stafford) should think that too. That's what we've got to think. As a competitor, that's all I want to do is be the best that I can be, and the best you can do in this draft is No. 1."
Sanchez may or may not go No. 1 overall, but it would take a Brady Quinn-like slide for him to end up with the Vikings at No. 22, barring a trade that has the Vikings moving up in the first round.
Much of the Vikings' discussion this week in Indianapolis has centered around their quarterback position, with Childress revealing that Gus Frerotte is contemplating whether or not he wants to return to the team. If he does, Childress said Tarvaris Jackson and Frerotte would have an open competition for the starting spot – if the Vikings don't acquire another quarterback that would be considered the unquestioned starter.
But Childress has also been asked about evaluating a quarterback like Sanchez, who is entering the NFL with only one year of starting experience, having started just 16 games.
It's a rap that he will have to overcome to become the first overall selection.
"I think the best way to answer that is to talk about the kind of experience I've had, against the top players around, most of them in the NFL, since my freshman year. I started 16 games, played in practice every day against – with a pro style offense – against a pro-style defense," he said, naming numerous defensive players that have been draft or are expected to be drafted in the first few rounds. "I think the experience I've had has been very valuable and the type of atmosphere I've played in. I've been in a big city, a large media market. We've played in the Rose Bowl, in nationally televised games, and I'm ready for this league."
Sanchez follows a string of quarterbacks from USC that have all played in the NFL, from Carson Palmer to Matt Leinart to Matt Cassel to John David Booty. Cassel, however, didn't make a start at USC and didn't make his first start in the NFL until 2008.
"I have more (college) starts than him, that's for sure. But I'm happy for him and what he's done. That speaks volumes for his perseverance and his make-up," Sanchez said. "He's a great guy and he's been very supportive in my decision. Saw him at the Super Bowl in Tampa, so I'm very happy for him."
Sanchez characterized himself as a "gym rat."
"Someone who's passionate about playing, who's a gym rat, someone who likes to study and work hard. I think it shows. My excitement and love for this game is pretty evident in the film," he said. "That's not tough to see. When you watch it on TV, it's pretty much everywhere. It's even hard for me to watch on TV. For me it's like, wow,
I'm just smiling like a goofy kid out there. But it's so much fun for me. But somebody who prepares well, can throw well on the run, mechanically sound, quick feet, can move in the 5-, 10-yard box in the pocket, obviously can make a play. I think it's the whole package."
Vikings to meet with quarterback
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