If I had to bet on who the 'veteran backup' acquisition would be, I'd lean heavily towards this guy. Because Jaws, THIS GUY can chuck the rock.
Okay, let's be up front about this. Christian Ponder is the future at quarterback for the Vikings, and I don't think anyone disputes that. What's that? No, Joe Webb's mom, I like Joe a lot, and I will put it on the record that you dispute the previous statement, and the word 'everyone' is perjorative towards Mighty Joe. I'm sorry.
That said, when you draft a guy #12 overall, and the coach says ideally said #12 pick will be starting the season opener in San Diego...which was discovered in 1904 by the Germans, which of course means whale's va--nevermind...it seems that yeah, Ponder's the guy. If it's any consolation, Mrs. Webb, I do think Joe will play a significant part in the offense, just not as the starting quarterback.
That said, the Vikings will need a veteran guy to come in, because even though Christian Ponder will make Trent Dilfer eat his ass for the next decade, the Vikings still need a veteran guy to show both Webb and Ponder how to be an NFL quarterback.
There has been a ton of speculation on just who that veteran might be, so let's go through every guy I can think of that has been mentioned in conjunction with the Vikings (conjunction junction, what's your function? Hookin' up words and phrases and clauses. Yeah, click on that and try and get that song out of your head, and don't look at any other School House Rock videos. You can't do it.).
So, enjoy the Ron Burgundy and School House Rock diddies, then join me after the jump, where we walk through Ted's Used Quarterback Store, where the savings are CRAZY and passing up a deal from crazy Teddy would be INNNNNNNNNNSAAAAAAAANNNNEEE!
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati: If the Vikings hadn't drafted Ponder, Palmer was the guy I was hoping the Vikings would get. there's only one problem with that, which was reiterated to me by several of my friends who are Bengals fans: Mike Brown would rather make Palmer retire than trade him for anything less than he thinks he can get for him, and what Brown thinks he can get, regardless of the player, is always unrealistic. So Palmer will either play for the Bengals, or he will retire. The reason I liked Palmer is because I think he's the smartest of the bunch and is the one guy I think would benefit from a change of scenery more than anyone in the NFL. He can be an interception machine, though, throwing 100 in just five real full seasons (he missed most of 2008 with an injury). Of course, when he's on, and he's not dealing with total flakejobs at BOTH wide receiver positions, he can be very, very good. But Mike Brown isn't going to let him go, so scratch Palmer.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle: Hasselbeck has had some very productive seasons, and took the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005. But his last truly great season was 2007, as he has thrown more interceptions than TD's over the last threee years (34/44) and has battled a fairly serious back injury. I'm not sure how much Hasselbeck has left in the tank, and with the mediocre play of the offensive line the last couple of years, it would be a minor miracle if he were able to survive the season. As bad as his back has historically been, I would be surprised to see him make it through the first month. And if that's the case, you just might as well throw Ponder in there and let him take his lumps.
Donovan McNabb, Washington: Easily the least popular choice for me is Donovan McNabb. After watching him last season in Washington, I just think the guy is done, and we'd see a 2010 edition of Brett Favre, with just a little more mobility. I'm not a McNabb hater; he's had a great career and has been a gentleman in situations where it was extremely difficult to be one. He just seems done, and he just feels like a guy that if he's the QB the Vikes have 6-10 or 5-11 written all over them. And if that's the case, I'd rather go 5-11 or 6-10 with a rookie who's the future than playing with a guy just trying to hold on, because playing Ponder makes him better faster, which makes the Vikings better in the long run.
Marc Bulger, Baltimore: You know, this is a guy that I'm really starting to come around on, and he would be my odds on favorite to sign. Bulger had some good seasons as the Greatest Show On Turf was ending in St. Louis, but he took a beating his last three or four years with the Rams. He has a big arm and would be a good spot starter if Ponder is injured or slumping. The risk you run with acquiring Palmer, Hasselbeck, and especially McNabb is that they want to start, and McNabb has said he wants to start for three more years. It seems the Vikings want to bring in a vet with the understanding that he would be as much a QB coach and mentor for Ponder, and that the job wasn't really up for competition. Bulger did that, to an extent, when he went to Baltimore to back up Joe Flacco, so it's not like he's unfamiliar with the situation.
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia: Kolb, who a lot of people thought the VIkings might try and trade for, really can't be considered an option at this point. He's young, would extract a high price in terms of picks and contract, and if you believe the word on the street, he's getting traded to the Cardinals. Seeing as how they didn't, you know, draft a QB and can't really be fired up over Derek Anderson.
Kyle Orton, Denver: Christopher did a great write up on Orton the other day, and I can't say I disagree with any of it, other than at the end. I think Orton could be a long term answer for somebody. He's shown that if he has some good receivers he can be a very good QB, he has matured a lot since his days in Chicago, and he rocks the neckbeard better than anyone in the NFL. But if he is a long term answer (5 years) it doesn't make a lot of sense for Minnesota to trade say a third and fourth rounder for what will amount to be a one year rental. I could get behind Orton to the Vikings if it's say just a fourth rounder, or even a fourth and fifth, but Denver would be stupid to do that.
So there you go. Have a look around, kick the tires, and if you want to take one of these guys for a test drive, just come on in to the office and we'll get the keys for you.