Friday, January 21, 2011

Minnesota Vikings 2011 -- Who will be the Vikings next quarterback?

EDITOR'S NOTE: These odds were updated on February 2, 2011

The Minnesota Vikings offseason is starting to calm down after an flurry of news involving Leslie Frazier's new coaching staff. The team appears to have its coaching staff in place, which includes plenty of new faces to the franchise.

If you believe what's being said about the Vikings, by the Vikings, the team will have a new identity next season. Frazier wants all-pro running back Adrian Peterson to be the focus of the offense and he wants a young quarterback that the team can develop. The man in charge of bringing the offense together is Bill Musgrave. The Vikings hired Musgrave away from Atlanta, where he was the quarterbacks coach. Musgrave will be responsible for the offensive playcalling, and really, crafting this next generation of Vikings offense. But before Musgrave gets to work on his offensive blueprint, the team must find a quarterback.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated on February 2, 2011

Brett Favre (2 million:1 -- No change) – UPDATE: A combination of filed retirement papers and more sexting allegations will keep Favre from returning to the Vikings. Plus, he picked the Packers to 'win it all'. Let the Packer fence mending begin.

Tarvaris Jackson (8000:1 -- No change) – UPDATE: Still a long shot.

Michael Vick (20000:1 -- up from 10000:)UPDATE: The Eagles will place the franchise tag on Vick. He's not going anywhere.

Kyle Orton (250:1 -- up from 150:1)UPDATE: The lack of progress on a new collective bargining agreement (CBA) hurts Orton's chances of coming to Minnesota. The Broncos want draft picks for Orton and if a new CBA isn't agreed upon by draft day in April, he won't be going anywhere.

Tim Tebow (1 million:1 -- no change) UPDATE: Tebow isn't going anywhere. When Josh McDaniels interviewed for the Vikings offensive coordinator position, there was speculation he might bring Tebow with him. Well, McDaniels is headed to St. Louis and John Fox likes Tebow. So again, Tebow isn't going anywhere.

Troy Smith (10000:1 -- no change) – UPDATE: Now that Mike Singletary has joined the Vikings staff, it is virtually out of the question that Smith signs with Minnesota. Singletary and Smith were involved in a heated exchange on the sidelines during a game this year. I don't see Singletary writing a good recommendation for Smith.

Kevin Kolb (250:1 -- up from 150:1)UPDATE: Philadelphia came clean this week and said they are listening to offers for Kolb, and he wants out. Much like the Orton situation in Denver, an unresolved CBA hurts Kolb's chances of getting out of Philly. The Eagles want draft picks (high picks) for Kolb. if the NFL and NFLPA don't agree on a new CBA before draft day, Kolb is stuck backing up Vick.

Alex Smith (10000:1 -- no change) – UPDATE: See Troy Smith. The Singletary hire hurts his chances too. Plus, new 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said this week that "He's excited to work with Smith."

Carson Palmer (1000:1 -- no change)UPDATE: Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, but he doesn't fit Frazier's strategy for finding the next Vikings quarterback. Frazier has said he wants to get a young quarterback and develop him in the Vikings system. Palmer doesn't fit that description. Palmer's high price tag also make him a longshot to land with the Vikings.

Matt Hasselbeck (300:1 -- down from 1000:1)UPDATE: The Seattle Seahawks made it clear that re-signing Hasselbeck is the team's top priority this offseason. But now I'm starting to wonder if that's truely the case. I could see the Seahawks taking a long look at Carson Palmer. Palmer and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll were together at USC and could be reunited in the Emerald City. If Palmer is dealt to Seattle, Hasselbeck would be as the Seahawks quarterback. I still believe Hasselbeck has a few good years left in him, but whether he'd want to re-locate this late in his career is the question. Like Palmer, Hasselbeck doesn't fit the Frazier strategy for find the next Vikings quarterback because of his age. However, he would be a free agent and wouldn't take a draft pick to acquire him.

Blaine Gabbert (50:1 -- down from 85:1)UPDATE: I'm moving all of these college quarterbacks to 50:1 because I have no idea where they will go in the draft. Gabbert is projected to be gone by the time the Vikings draft at #12, but like I said, right now it's too hard to tell.

Cam Newton (50:1 -- down from 75:1)UPDATE: See Gabbert. I don't see Newton making it to #12, but if he's still there, the Vikings will be awfully tempted to draft the Heisman winner.

Ryan Mallett (50:1 -- down from 75:1)UPDATE: See Gabbert/Newton. Mallett is another quarterback who might fall to #12, but again, it's anyone's guess. Like Newton, if Mallett's available when the Vikings pick, they will him a good, long look.

Jake Locker (50:1 -- up from 18:1) – UPDATE: There are a lot of teams that need quarterbacks and Locker will most certainly draw some attention. However, he is coming off a less than impressive week at the Senior Bowl. NFL scouts who watched Locker at practice and during the game described his performance as erratic and inconsistant. This has been the knock of Locker all season and it might cause him to slide on draft day.

Colin Kaepernick (50:1 -- new addition) – After a great week of practice and strong performance in the Senior Bowl, Kaepernick is making his way up draft boards. The senior from Nevada was described as the top quarterback at the Senior Bowl and displayed the best arm of any quarterback there. Kaepernick was projected as a mid-round pick, now some scouts are thinking he might be taken in the first or second round. At 6'6", Kaepernick has the size and strength to be a quarterback. His strong arm allows him to make every throw necessary to be an NFL quarterback and he possesses that rare athleticism. The 23-year-old rushed for over 4,000 yards during his four-year career at Nevada, and averaged nearly seven yards per carry.

Ricky Stanzi (50:1 -- new addition) – Stanzi is another first timer on this list and showed tremednous leadership skills at the Senior Bowl. However, Stanzi doesn't have the same type of upside as the other college quarterbacks on this list. The Iowa quarterback does have experience in a pro-style offense and many scouts believe he has the highest football I.Q. of any quarterback in the draft. Stanzi could be a good NFL player, but he might need a year or two to develop.

Joe Webb (10:1 -- no change)UPDATE: It doesn't sound like Leslie Frazier has the most confidence in Webb as a starting quarterback next year. Frazier has made it very clear the Vikings would like to target a quarterback in the upcoming draft. Webb will most certainly be on the roster next year, but it sounds like he'll be holding the clipboard once again.

Donovan McNabb (18:1 -- no change)UPDATE: I'm starting to think the Vikings are telling the truth when they say they don't want another "bridge" quarterback. You know, an old guy who has one or two years left in him. McNabb is one of those guys and appears to be aging himself out of consideration.

Vince Young (9:1 -- down from 17:1) – UPDATE: The Titans are trying to find a trading partner who will take Young, but they might not have any leverage. The Titans have been so public about their intention to dump Young that teams aren't likely to give up a draft pick for him. My guess is Young will eventually be cut by Tennessee and would be free to sign with any team. If Young is cut, Minnesota would not need to give up a draft pick to get him, they could offer him a new (incentive-laden) contract and Young would have an opportunity to start. Also, the Vikings recently hired Craig Johnson as their quarterbacks coach. Johnson has spent the last eight seasons with the Titans, four of those years spent as Young's quarterbacks coach. Johnson recently said Young's "best days are ahead of him." Young could be the lowest risk, lowest cost quarterback situation for the Vikings.

We’ll know a lot more about contracts and free agency after the Super Bowl. An important date to know is March 3. That is when the current CBA agreement between the owners and players expires. If a new agreement isn’t in place by then, players will be locked out and the offseason agenda would put on hold until an agreement is reached. Stay tuned.

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