I decided, after the crazy and debating week it's been, to see what was in store after the 2010 campaign is dragged out into the street, stone, whipped, hanged from a yard-arm, shot, cut into its bitsy pieces and buried alive over at the end of the regular season. Besides the continuing saga of the Vikings attempting to get a new stadium, whether or not there is a new C.B.A. let alone a season to play next year (MLB, NHL canceled season's anyone?), the Vikings have a bunch of Free Agents coming up, and possibly a few to go after. So, this post will be the Quarterback edition, san’s two of three currently on our roster.
Vikings (possible) Free Agents 2011:
S - Husain Abdullah
WR - Hank Baskett
C - Ryan Cook
DE - Ray Edwards
DT - Fred Evans
QB - Brett Favre
S - Eric Frampton
OLB - Chad Greenway
OLB - Erin Henderson
QB - Tarvaris Jackson
OLB - Ben Leber
WR - Greg Lewis
PK - Ryan Longwell
WR - Sidney Rice
DE - Brian Robison
CB - Lito Sheppard
FB - Naufahu Tahi
S - Madieu Williams
DT - Pat Williams
I see the Vikings re-signing Rice, Greenway, Longwell and Edwards. I’m 99.9% sure Favre will retire this season and 100% sure the Vikings will move on. Also, Jackson is more then likely playing sitting studying clip-boarding his last year here . Williams is near the end of the line so it might be time to start looking for a replacement for him, either draft or Free Agency. More on the later. The rest, don’t look like it will hurt us if they walk.
Provided we do resign the above mentioned, that leaves one BIG glaring hole. Quarterback. Webb isn’t ready, so don’t even go there. At this point, we are going to have to look for a Free Agent QB. Even if we draft one again this off season, we will need a 1 to 2 season buffer in the form of a veteran. So, let’s take a look at who is coming up.
Marc Bulger – Baltimore
Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle
Chad Pennington – Miami
Bruce Gradkowski – Oakland
Michael Vick – Philly
Kyle Boller - Oakland
Obviously, I left a few big names off as that is really a pipe dream. You know Indy is going to put down big coin for Manning. A few others, well, more or less laughable as in Trent Edwards, Charlie Frye or Brodie Croyle. I also left out Dixon, Thigpen and a few others as very unknown qualities. And sad to say, Thigpen looked pretty awful this year as has Matt Moore, Carolina’s poster boy last season. So, this is more or less as semi realistic list. Now, this is assuming that in 2 years, Webb (or whoever) is ready to go. So sit back, read, digest and I’m sure I’ll be told I’m insane from a few.
Marc Bulger – Did have some very good years in St. Louis before taking a slide the last two years before leaving. The whole Rams team was in complete shambles those final 2 years as well. 10 years in the league. Proven starter with the ability to make some plays, but a few blunders too. Lifetime rating of 84.4, 122 TD, 93 INT and 22,814 yards. I feel at this time he would be the best “bang for the buck” as he should be able to fill the 2 year window while providing some stability and being serviceable until the QBOTF came online. Has proven very good with good talent around him, but average with average talent. Bulger is my 1st choice as the 2 year guinea pig.
Matt Hasselbeck – 12 years experience. Might be worth the look, though it would be safe to say the Hawks are going to try and retain him this year unless Seattle goes after another Free Agent. Whitehurst really is an unknown to warrant the Hawks going with him and letting Matt walk.. His numbers for the most part have been steady, but in a slight decline the last few seasons. Could also work well for 2 seasons, but a pretty good long shot to say the least. I would put him at an outside shot if available but my choice #2. 83 Rating, 172 TD, 118 INT and 28,668 yards lifetime.
Bruce Gradkowski – No, the guy doesn’t have stellar numbers. But he hasn’t played on stellar teams as well. Did steal the job from Campbell for a short time this year. But not much to ogle over. Seem’s more comfortable throwing short, quick passes. Can be prone to misreading if on the run. He has been said to be a team leader. Not sure how he would be, but he has never thrown to the like’s of Rice, Harvin, Shank or even Peterson. Watching a few games here this year, has shown enough to make me think about him. He was throwing on some awful Bucs and Raiders teams though. 66.1 Rating, 19 TD, 21 INT and 3,631 yards in 5 seasons.
Chad Pennington – He did have a resurgence a few years ago, and much like McNabb in Philly, I think he tended to get a raw deal in N.Y.. Plus the Mangini led Jet’s weren’t all that much to write home about. However, the last two season’s he has been out due to injury, so his longevity already comes into question. Also, there have been reports that his latest injury might be a career ender. Only time will tell. So, I decided to throw him in just incase he does comeback, or can comeback from this latest one, but the injury bug does have me very skittish about considering him any further as it would make me doubt he would last 2 season's, let alone one. 90.1 Rating, 102 TD, 64 INT, 17,823 yards lifetime.
Kyle Boller (Or consider re-signing Jackson at this point, maybe Trent Edwards, Matt Moore, etc.) – Showed some great promise at times in Baltimore, showed some “Eeeee frikken Gad’s” moments as well. Not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but no Ryan “Mind Meltdown” Leaf either. Would be my last choice if not for the guy below. Would be a mediocre two years a lot of folks would not want to put up with. It would be that way for anyone else as starter really. I think about the same if we just stuck with Jackson who I would put in a tie with. 70.6 Rating, 48 TD, 50 INT and 8,745 yards lifetime in 7 seasons.
Michael Vick – Now, the guy paid his due’s. Yeah, what he did was horrible (I am a big dog lover), but it is one of those Forgive, but not forget. So, moving past that, he is my last choice. You might be thinking that low? Well, it depends on what Philly does. Oh yes, I want him at the top of this list, and I am wishing it, but, reality has to set in as well. They have Kolb to whom they were committed to last year as their QB. Then Reed did a flip flop after Kolb got injured. But we know how Reed loves Favre-esque drama himself. Should they re-sign him? Most certainly yes. But with the possibility of this being an uncapped year, will they be willing to re-sign him? So, depending on the situation and our situation, yes, if he is available and we scrap everything, including Webb, go for him as he has the ability to be with us a long time. Otherwise, would it be worth the amount of money he is going to command to be with us only 2 years? Of all the QB’s, Vick is the big dilemma. He has massive talent, has matured above and beyond what I thought he would. Much more patient in the pocket. Look’s for open WR’s before running, unless it was a designed or collapsing play and has developed a lot of thinking on his feet. He is no longer a run first style QB we saw in Atlanta. At 30, he would more then likely be around a good 8 years, barring any injuries or massive decline in abilities. He could be our QBOTF right now if we unload everyone else. Vick would be my safest bet of any potential Free Agent. But if we stick with Webb and draft another QB this off-season, he wouldn’t really be worth the short term money and effort it would take to attract him here. Especially if the Eagles use the franchised tag on him just to up his value even more. 79.1 Rating, 83 TD, 52 INT and 13,199 yards passing lifetime. Currently, my #1 choice if he becomes our long term solution, last choice if we go with Webb or anyone else.
Sadly, as you can see, not alot of pickings out there for proven Free Agents. That would leave re-signing Jackson for two years, throwing Webb in or going for a trade. If a trade, then it would have to be considered a long term solution, not a two year buffer. We pissed enough trade pick's away this season (Moss affair anyone?). That would leave us keeping Jackson as a back-up (if he/we wanted to re-sign him) and perhaps letting go of or keeping Webb 3rd. Or moving Webb to 2nd. It's going to be a very interesting off-season for us QB-wise to see which direction or route this team takes.
EDIT: I did purposely leave out Kyle Orton, Donovan McNabb and Kolb as currently, they are under contracts. Yes, there would be a possibility they could get cut and the whole Vick scenario ruled out if Kolb is released. The perspective I am looking at is the Vikings sticking with Webb as our QB of the Future. If that is the case, then that leaves out the above mentioned including Vick/Kolb. Those guys, if they become available, are not going to sign a 1 or 2 year contract knowing full well they really have no shot at being the QB for the long term. So immediately I threw them out, with the exception of Vick, but I did explain why I left him in. Otherwise, the other guys, they are going to want to play for that year or two to show other perspective teams, after the contract is up, that they are still very viable starters. I also left out any trade possibilities as I explained at the top. Purely possible/pending Free Agents only were listed.