As we approach the two-week warning prior to the 2008 NFL Draft, we know the following things about the Vikings' quarterback situation.
- Tarvaris Jackson is the starter
- Gus Frerotte will be the primary backup
- Brooks Bollinger probably isn't long for the Minnesota roster
The Beloved Purple have also brought Frerotte in, presumably a) to tutor young Jackson the same way he did for Daunte Culpepper during his last stop in Minnesota and b) they actually watched Brooks Bollinger play last season. If pressed into service, I think Frerotte can be okay. . .Bollinger, on the other hand, hasn't given anyone that indication yet.
This is why the Vikings will surely be spending a pick in the 2008 draft on a quarterback. Guys like Bollinger, who will turn 29 during the 2008 season, generally aren't kept around as a #3 quarterback in this league. That spot is usually reserved for either a young, developmental type of quarterback (i.e. "a project"), or a hot-shot quarterback of the future that isn't going to play early on. Bollinger doesn't qualify as either of those things, and as a result I fully expect him to be traded or released at the Vikings' earliest possible convenience.
So who will the Vikings fill that #3 spot with? Well, through a combination of where DraftTek has them getting selected and the knowledge of the good folks at New Era Scouting, here is this year's quarterback crop.
Matt Ryan, Boston College (no chance he makes it to Minnesota's spot in the draft, and they're not trading up for him)
John David Booty, Southern California
Kevin O'Connell, San Diego State
Dennis Dixon, Oregon
Bernard Morris, Marshall
Matt Flynn, Louisiana State
New Era Scouting's full list of quarterbacks is right here.
Since I've already expressed my opinions on Tarvaris Jackson, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I wouldn't advocate taking a QB in the first two rounds of this year's draft. The Vikings have too many other needs to take care of to spend that high a selection on a guy that, in a best-case scenario, isn't going to be playing this year. The picks in the first two rounds should be used to address the Vikings' deficiencies at DE, TE, and/or the secondary.
There are two names listed in DraftTek's third round, however, that intrigue the heck out of me. The first one is Andre Woodson. It wasn't all THAT long ago that Woodson was touted as possibly being the best quarterback in the 2008 class, and he has all of the physical tools to be just that. He's a very good decision maker (having set an NCAA record by going 325 consecutive pass attempts without throwing an interception), and many of his flaws are coachable.
The second is Josh Johnson. Now, Johnson went to a school that most people have never heard of, that being I-AA San Diego. He put up mind-boggling numbers this year. How mind-boggling? Here's his stat line:
206 completions, 301 attempts (68.4% completion rate), 2,988 yards, 43 touchdowns, 1 interception
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's a 43:1 TD-to-interception ratio. Yeah, it was at I-AA. . .I don't care if it's at Pop Warner. That kind of ratio is awfully damn impressive.
As you can imagine, coming from said I-AA school, he's raw, but all reports say he has the kind of work ethic that coaches dream about. He's also a bit on the slim side, standing 6'3" but weighing slightly less than 200 pounds. He's got outstanding mobility and a very good arm.
So, if I were the Vikings, I'd use one of those two third-round selections to grab either Woodson or Johnson and let them sit behind Jackson and Frerotte for a season or two. If Jackson develops into a upper-echelon NFL QB, then great. . .if not, then we'll have a backup prepared and waiting to take over.
What do you think, folks?