Scout's Notebook: QB Sage Rosenfels

In waiting a year, the price went down as the Vikings acquired veteran quarterback Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft.

#18, Sage Rosenfels, QB

(6041, 225, 4.71-4.89 coming out) Iowa State

Notes:  Born 3/6/78, in Maquoketa, Iowa.  Attended Maquoketa High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society, and a letterman in football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and track.  In football, he played quarterback, defensive back, punter, and kicker.  As a senior, he was a first team All-District selection, and was named as an All-Eastern Iowa selection by the Quad City Times and the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and was honored as a second team Class 3-A All-State defensive back by the Des Moines Register.  In basketball, he was a three-year starter.  As a junior, he was an All-State Honorable Mention selection.  As a senior, he named as an All-Eastern Iowa selection by the Quad City Times, and was an All-State selection.  In baseball, he was twice named as an All-District selection, was a two-time All-Conference selection, and was a two-time All-State selection.  In tennis, he was a four-year letterman.  In the only season he competed in track, Rosenfels was a member of the 4x200-meter relay team which placed at the State Championships.  He graduated from Maquoketa High School in 1996 with a 3.4 grade point average.

College:  Redshirted in 1996.  Lettered as a backup in 1997 and 1998, appearing in four games each year.  Started every game in 1999 and 2000.  Completed 127-of-235 (54.0%) for 1,781 yards, 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in ’99.  Connected on 172-of-333 (51.7%) for 2,298 yards, 8 TDs and 12 interceptions in 2000; also rushed for 381 yards on 78 carries with 10 TDs.  During his freshman year with the Cyclones, current Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was a graduate assistant.

Pre-Draft:  Ran a 4.71 40-yard dash and posted a 34-inch vertical jump in his combine workout prior to the draft.  Posted a 4.86 and 4.89 forty outdoors on artificial turf during campus workouts in the Spring.  Recorded an very good Wonderlic score (32).

Pro:  Originally a fourth-round draft choice (109 overall) by the Washington Redskins in 2001.  Made the team as the team’s No. 3 quarterback; did not play.

Acquired via trade on August 22, 2002 by the Miami Dolphins (when current Vikings VP of Player Personnel was the Dolphins’ GM) in exchange for a seventh-round draft 2003 draft pick.  Saw his first significant action in relief of Gus Frerotte with the Dolphins in 2005.  Entered their Week 13 game against the Buffalo Bills in the third quarter trailing 23-3, Rosenfels led Miami to three fourth-quarter scoring drives to come back and win 24-23.  Entered at halftime a couple weeks later with the score tied 10-10 against the Jets and led his team to a pair of scoring drives to secure a 24-20 win.  Finished the season completing 34-of-61 passes (55.7%) for 462 yards with 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 81.5 in four games played, including one start.

He signed with the Houston Texans as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2006; saw limited action in four games completing 27-of-39 passes (69.2%) for 265 yards, 3 TDs, 1 interception and a quarterback rating of 103.0.  In 2007, Rosenfels came in trailing the Tennessee Titans 32-7 entering the fourth quarter.  He tied an NFL record by throwing 4 fourth-quarter touchdown passes to give the Texans a 36-35 lead before Rob Bironas kicked his NFL-record 8th field goal to give the Titans a 38-36 win.  He finished the 2007 season 4-1 as a starter, completing 154-of-240 passes (64.2%) for 1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a QB rating of 84.8.  This past season, he stepped in for an injured Matt Schaub at halftime against the Vikings and completed 21-of-29 passes (72.4%) for 224 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception and a QB rating of 103.2, despite a consistently fierce pass rush by the Minnesota defense.  He finished the year with 116-of-174 (66.7%) for 1,431 yards, 6 TDs, 10 interceptions and a QB rating of 79.5.  The low point for Rosenfels was a game against Indianapolis when his three turnovers (2 fumbles, 1 interception) in the final four minutes cost the Texans an upset victory.

Acquired by the Vikings in exchange for a fourth-round draft choice in the 2009 NFL Draft.  Reportedly agreed to a three-year, $9-million contract extension with Minnesota.

Positives:  Poised field leader who shows good command of the offense and feel for the game.  Very smart.  Hard worker.  Nice size, stature and mechanics.  Above-average athlete.  Sees the field well.  Reads and understands defenses effectively.  Generally accurate passer with nice timing, touch and anticipation.  Can throw on the move.  Has a knack for finding the soft spots in zone coverages.  Adequate arm strength.  Can zip the ball.  Has some pocket mobility and footspeed to run for positive yardage when flushed from the pocket.  Good intangibles and toughness.

Negatives:  Presses at times, especially under duress, and will try to do too much.  Has a tendency to throw flat-footed or off his back foot, negating arm strength and velocity at times.  Does not have a powerful arm.  A bit off in his timing with receivers, especially on crossing routes, at times.  Needs to protect the ball better in traffic.

Summary:  Rosenfels should represent at least a slight upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson and/or Gus Frerotte at quarterback.  He understands the West Coast Offense and should be able to lead the team with at least a bit more consistency.  Can pick apart a defense and move the chains when given enough time to throw.

What they said:

“I’m excited to compete for the starting job.  I think it’s going to make this football team better; it’s going to make me better.  I’m going to go out there and do the best job I can to help this football team any way I can.”  -Rosenfels at introductory press conference

“His height, his ability to get the ball out of his hands, his ability to make quick decisions, his accuracy when he throws the ball – all those things you look for.  And I know what Brad and (offensive coordinator Darrell) Bevell and (QBs coach) Kevin Rogers look for in a quarterback is what he kind of fit.  So that’s when you have an opportunity.  Plus, a familiarity with the system, where it’s not such a big learning curve to come in, which will give him ability to compete with Tarvaris (Jackson)."  -Rick Spielman, VP of Player Personnel

“To try to overcome the stigma of a backup quarterback, you want to go in there and make things happen…You want to make great plays and I’ve been able to do that a lot of times.  The hardest part is when you don’t have plays…to have the mental toughness to just throw the ball in the dirt and just move on.”  -Rosenfels, in New York Daily News.

“We think Sage Rosenfels is a starting quarterback in the NFL.”  -John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach

“Here’s hoping the Vikings know how lucky they might be about to get.  They’re getting a really smart guy, a really competitive guy and a guy who has shown he’s good enough to win games.  He has never done it consistently, but then again, he has never had the opportunity the Vikings can give him.”  –Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle columnist

“I think they are a much better football team with a quarterback that allows Brad Childress and [offensive coordinator] Darrell Bevell to run that offense the way it should be run instead of having so much come off of the run game.”  -Tim Hasselbeck, ESPN analyst

Other links:

NFL.com

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