FanPost

What the top 120 QB performances of the past 10 years tell us about the Vikings' QB situation

Based on the top 120 single season performances by passer rating index (a.k.a. RATE+), the Vikings should not worry too much about drafting a quarterback in the first round.

Here are the top 120 seasons by NFL quarterbacks in terms of passer rating index (120 = 20% better than the average QB's passer rating that year; 115 = 15% better than the average QB's passer rating that year, and so on) from 2000 to 2009:

Rk 5 Player Year Age Draft How acq Tm GS Rate+ Sack%+
1 Peyton Manning 2004 28 1-Jan D IND 16 151 128
2 Tom Brady 2007 30 6-199 D NWE 16 148 117
3 Daunte Culpepper 2004 27 11-Jan D MIN 16 138 92
4 Chad Pennington 2002 26 18-Jan D NYJ 12 138 108
5 Brian Griese 2000 25 Mar-91 D DEN 10 135 113
6 Drew Brees 2009 30 Feb-32 FA NOR 15 132 117
7 Kurt Warner 2001 30   FA STL 16 132 101
8 Drew Brees 2004 25 Feb-32 D SDG 15 131 116
9 Donovan McNabb 2004 28 2-Jan D PHI 15 131 101
10 Ben Roethlisberger 2007 25 11-Jan D PIT 15 130 73
11 Brett Favre 2009 40 Feb-33 FA MIN 16 129 100
12 Peyton Manning 2005 29 1-Jan D IND 16 129 120
13 Daunte Culpepper 2000 23 11-Jan D MIN 16 128 102
14 Rich Gannon 2002 37 Apr-98 FA OAK 16 128 107
15 David Garrard 2007 29 4-108 D JAX 12 128 101
16 Kurt Warner 2000 29   FA STL 11 128 109
17 Jeff Garcia 2000 30   FA SFO 16 127 118
18 Philip Rivers 2008 27 4-Jan T SDG 16 127 107
19 Peyton Manning 2006 30 1-Jan D IND 16 126 125
20 Steve McNair 2003 30 3-Jan D TEN 14 126 113
21 Carson Palmer 2005 26 1-Jan D CIN 16 125 120
22 Philip Rivers 2009 28 4-Jan T SDG 16 125 108
23 Rich Gannon 2001 36 Apr-98 FA OAK 16 124 112
24 Peyton Manning 2003 27 1-Jan D IND 16 124 122
25 Aaron Rodgers 2009 26 24-Jan D GNB 16 124 81
26 Jeff Garcia 2001 31   FA SFO 16 123 111
27 Peyton Manning 2000 24 1-Jan D IND 16 123 122
28 Brett Favre 2001 32 Feb-33 T GNB 16 122 116
29 Matt Hasselbeck 2005 30 6-187 T SEA 16 122 110
30 Peyton Manning 2007 31 1-Jan D IND 16 122 114
31 Ben Roethlisberger 2004 22 11-Jan D PIT 13 122 81
32 Ben Roethlisberger 2005 23 11-Jan D PIT 12 122 92
33 Brian Griese 2004 29 Mar-91 FA TAM 10 121 96
34 Brad Johnson 2002 34 9-227 FA TAM 13 121 114
35 Ben Roethlisberger 2009 27 11-Jan D PIT 15 121 77
36 Tony Romo 2007 27   FA DAL 16 121 111
37 Drew Brees 2006 27 Feb-32 FA NOR 16 120 121
38 Daunte Culpepper 2003 26 11-Jan D MIN 14 120 93
39 Rich Gannon 2000 35 Apr-98 FA OAK 16 120 108
40 Trent Green 2002 32 8-222 T KAN 16 120 108
41 Peyton Manning 2009 33 1-Jan D IND 16 120 133
42 Brett Favre 2007 38 Feb-33 T GNB 16 119 122
43 Trent Green 2004 34 8-222 T KAN 16 119 108
44 Donovan McNabb 2006 30 2-Jan D PHI 10 119 101
45 Tony Romo 2006 26   FA DAL 10 119 104
46 Matt Schaub 2009 28 Mar-90 T HOU 16 118 114
47 Marc Bulger 2004 27 6-168 D STL 14 117 91
48 Jeff Garcia 2007 37   FA TAM 13 117 104
49 Elvis Grbac 2000 30 8-219 T KAN 15 117 112
50 Carson Palmer 2006 27 1-Jan D CIN 16 117 100
51 Chad Pennington 2008 32 18-Jan FA MIA 16 117 108
52 Tony Romo 2009 29   FA DAL 16 117 101
53 Kurt Warner 2008 37   FA ARI 16 117 113
54 Drew Brees 2008 29 Feb-32 FA NOR 16 116 128
55 Marc Bulger 2006 29 6-168 D STL 16 116 92
56 Steve McNair 2001 28 3-Jan D TEN 15 116 93
57 Tom Brady 2009 32 6-199 D NWE 16 115 125
58 Tom Brady 2004 27 6-199 D NWE 16 115 110
59 Brett Favre 2004 35 Feb-33 T GNB 16 115 131
60 Trent Green 2003 33 8-222 T KAN 16 115 118
61 Peyton Manning 2002 26 1-Jan D IND 16 115 119
62 Philip Rivers 2006 25 4-Jan T SDG 16 115 106
63 Tom Brady 2005 28 6-199 D NWE 16 114 113
64 Peyton Manning 2008 32 1-Jan D IND 16 114 125
65 Jake Plummer 2003 29 Feb-42 FA DEN 11 114 113
66 Brett Favre 2003 34 Feb-33 T GNB 16 113 117
67 Matt Hasselbeck 2007 32 6-187 T SEA 16 113 104
68 Matt Hasselbeck 2002 27 6-187 T SEA 10 113 104
69 Chad Pennington 2004 28 18-Jan D NYJ 13 113 114
70 Aaron Rodgers 2008 25 24-Jan D GNB 16 113 100
71 Eli Manning 2009 28 1-Jan T NYG 16 112 103
72 Jake Plummer 2005 31 Feb-42 FA DEN 16 112 113
73 Matt Schaub 2008 27 Mar-90 T HOU 11 112 102
74 Kurt Warner 2009 38   FA ARI 15 112 112
75 Tom Brady 2001 24 6-199 D NWE 14 111 86
76 Aaron Brooks 2003 27 4-131 D NOR 16 111 102
77 Trent Green 2005 35 8-222 T KAN 16 111 105
78 Matt Hasselbeck 2003 28 6-187 T SEA 16 111 92
79 Donovan McNabb 2007 31 2-Jan D PHI 14 111 85
80 Donovan McNabb 2009 33 2-Jan D PHI 14 111 90
81 Kurt Warner 2007 36   FA ARI 11 111 112
82 Drew Bledsoe 2002 30 1-Jan FA BUF 16 110 89
83 Tom Brady 2002 25 6-199 D NWE 16 110 111
84 Drew Brees 2007 28 Feb-32 FA NOR 16 110 124
85 Drew Brees 2005 26 Feb-32 D SDG 16 110 110
86 Mark Brunell 2002 32 5-118 T JAX 15 110 92
87 Brett Favre 2002 33 Feb-33 T GNB 16 110 113
88 Jeff Garcia 2002 32   FA SFO 16 110 123
89 Brian Griese 2002 27 Mar-91 D DEN 13 110 95
90 Byron Leftwich 2005 25 7-Jan D JAX 11 110 98
91 Donovan McNabb 2002 26 2-Jan D PHI 10 110 95
92 Tony Romo 2008 28   FA DAL 13 110 112
93 Tom Brady 2006 29 6-199 D NWE 16 109 110
94 Kerry Collins 2002 30 5-Jan FA NYG 16 109 115
95 Jake Delhomme 2004 29   FA CAR 16 109 105
96 Jake Delhomme 2005 30   FA CAR 16 109 104
97 Jay Fiedler 2002 31   FA MIA 10 109 115
98 Jeff Garcia 2008 38   FA TAM 11 109 102
99 Jon Kitna 2003 31   FA CIN 16 109 99
100 Tommy Maddox 2002 31 25-Jan FA PIT 11 109 100
101 Mark Brunell 2000 30 5-118 T JAX 16 108 84
102 Matt Cassel 2008 26 7-230 D NWE 15 108 83
103 Jay Cutler 2007 24 11-Jan D DEN 16 108 104
104 Donovan McNabb 2001 25 2-Jan D PHI 16 108 96
105 Jeff Blake 2000 30 6-166 FA NOR 11 107 97
106 Tom Brady 2003 26 6-199 D NWE 16 107 105
107 Mark Brunell 2001 31 5-118 T JAX 15 107 75
108 Chris Chandler 2001 36 Mar-76 FA ATL 14 107 79
109 Kerry Collins 2000 28 5-Jan FA NYG 16 107 112
110 Peyton Manning 2001 25 1-Jan D IND 16 107 110
111 Steve McNair 2000 27 3-Jan D TEN 15 107 108
112 Steve McNair 2002 29 3-Jan D TEN 16 107 116
113 Matt Schaub 2007 26 Mar-90 T HOU 11 107 106
114 Mark Brunell 2005 35 5-118 FA WAS 15 106 107
115 Daunte Culpepper 2001 24 11-Jan D MIN 11 106 91
116 Joe Flacco 2009 24 18-Jan D BAL 16 106 94
117 Rob Johnson 2000 27 Apr-99 FA BUF 11 106 57
118 Carson Palmer 2007 28 1-Jan D CIN 16 106 121
119 Matt Ryan 2008 23 3-Jan D ATL 16 106 116
120 Kurt Warner 2005 34   FA ARI 10 106 106

 

41 different quarterbacks produced these 120 single seasons.  41 single seasons were at least 20% better than the average passer rating in those respective years, and the other 79 were 6-19% better than average.

Overall:
41 QBs produced these 120 seasons.
56 were by QBs drafted by that team; 40 were by free agents; 24 were by trade acquisitions.
51 were at least 30 years old; 51 were 26-29 years old; only 18 were 25 or younger.
48 were first round picks, a minority.
30 played on teams that allowed more sacks than the average team (sack% index < 100).

Of the top 41:
21 QBs produced these top 41 seasons.
21 were by first round picks; 15 were by later picks; 5 were by undrafted free agents.
17 were at least 30 years old; 17 were 26-29; 7 were by QBs 25 and under.
8 played on teams that allowed more sacks than the average team.

Of the lower 79 (42nd-120th):
27 were by first round picks.
34 were at least 30 years old; 34 were 26-29; 11 were by QBs 25 and younger.
22 played on teams that had a below average sack index.

By these numbers (and not even exploring the bust rate of first round QBs), it is clear that the safer way to solve the Vikings' QB void is to acquire an existing NFL QB, either by free agency or via trade.  A majority (53%) of the top 120 were produced by a free agent or trade acquisition.  First round picks produced a minority of the top 120 QB seasons in the past 10 years.  Most telling, the veteran age groups produced the most, not some tenderfoot rookie.  The actual performance of the QB matters more than how the QB is acquired or hyped by the media, and good to excellent QBs are more likely to be found via trade and/or free agency.  Of course, we can also look at this list with some sadness as Vikings fans and see that we did have a very remarkable franchise QB not too long ago who might still be dominating today had he gotten some protection from his line and no championship or SB appearance to show for it.

Of course, there is no reason not to sign or trade for a veteran and also draft another QB.  That makes the most sense of all.

I know some are going to wonder about Super Bowl championships.  A good quarterback is only part of a Super Bowl championship.  Few would argue that Ben Roethlisberger is a franchise QB, but one of the Steelers' championships actually happened during his worst year so far.  Eli Manning has one season in the top 120, but it is not from his SB championship year.  Kurt Warner's championship was in 1999, just before the cutoff, and Favre's was in 1997, or else they would make the short list also.  Compared to an all things being equal scenario in the NFL (1 would win out of 32 exactly equal teams, or about 3%, or about a 6% chance of competing in a SB), having a QB performing at these levels greatly increases the odds of getting there to at least 10%.

May this Christmas day post bring you wisdom and peace, especially about the Vikings' QB quandary.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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