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Trent Dilfer Might Be On To Something

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you know all about the acrimonious situation between the Denver Broncos and their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler.  The circus began when word leaked out that the Broncos and their new head coach, former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, had tried to acquire Matt Cassel from New England before Cassel got shipped to Kansas City.

Ever since this took place, the Vikings have been near the top of the list of rumored destinations for Cutler. . .along with the Detroit Lions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Montreal Machine (straight up for Bjorn Nittmo, perhaps).  But should the Vikings really be interested?  There's at least one guy that doesn't think so.

Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer doesn't think that Cutler would represent that big an upgrade, and verbalized as much in an interview on Wednesday.

"What takes a quarterback to the next level is not arm strength or mobility or any of that stuff," Dilfer said. "It's the ability to play on critical downs. Manage third downs, or red zones or four-minute or two-minute situations.

''I think that Sage, Tarvaris and Jay Cutler are all in the same boat in that sense. None have proven they can do it a high level consistently. I don't think because Cutler is a marquee name that he brings you any more quality in those situations."

Yes, Cutler is a big name, and he put up some pretty big numbers in the Denver offense this year.  However, keep in mind that the Broncos went into the the final three weeks of their season with an 8-5 record, a three-game lead over the San Diego Chargers, and needed to win just one of their final three games to secure a playoff spot.  The Broncos ended up 8-8 after getting destroyed by San Diego in the season finale and watched the Chargers upset the Colts in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs.

While some might see Cutler as the second coming of John Elway, Dilfer. . .among others. . .seems to think that he might be the second coming of Jeff George.  George had all the physical talent in the world, a vastness between his ears rivaled only by the Serengetti, and the sort of prima donna attitude that alienated him from fans and teammates alike.  Heck, I can't think about Jeff George without remembering the Vikings' game against the Rams where a fumble was loose on the turf and George just stood there and stared at it.  Cutler is really starting to give off the same sort of vibe, in my opinion.

I understand that being a jerk and a prima donna doesn't preclude someone from being an outstanding quarterback.  I also understand that it's not necessarily a requirement, either.

The asking price for this sort of attitude, by the way?  Rumored to be a first-round draft choice. . .and a second-round draft choice. . .and a third-round draft choice.  Yes, any team that's interested in acquiring Cutler from the Broncos will likely have to cough up their first three picks in the 2009 NFL Draft or subsequent drafts.  There are very, very few players that are worth that level of compensation. . .and, quite frankly, Jay Cutler's name doesn't appear on that list, in my opinion.  This draft is deep at positions the Vikings need help at, particularly at offensive tackle and wide receiver.  Would it be worth passing up the opportunity to fill those two spots, and potentially a third with whoever we'd select with that pick, for a guy that, to be quite honest, might not be that large an upgrade over what we have now?  (Not to mention what would likely have to be a sizable contract extension after he was acquired.)

Unless Cutler cuts the pouting act and mans up a little bit, I don't believe him to be worth that price.