Apologies for the super, ultra, mega late start to things today, ladies and gentlemen. Got some rather. . .interesting. . .news concerning the day job just before close of business on Friday and have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off ever since. But more on that tomorrow.
Elgar pointed this out in the FanPosts yesterday, but I thought it merited further highlighting. The NFL has passed a rule that will expand the active roster for each team from 45 to 46 players. They have also declared that the third quarterback on each team will no longer be required to be inactive, but will actually be on the active roster.
As Kevin Seifert points out at ESPN, this probably won't have a terribly large effect on a lot of teams. A third quarterback isn't going to be used in many situations unless it's a last resort. But, if a team doesn't have a third quarterback anyway, such as the New England Patriots, it will give them an extra spot to use and, potentially, give them a slight advantage.
In the case of the Vikings, however, if they did decide to bring in a veteran quarterback, either Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, or (insert veteran here) would have to be designated the #3 quarterback. The rules previously stated that if the third quarterback on the depth chart entered the game before the end of the third quarter, then the other two quarterbacks on the team would be unable to return to action. That rule no longer exists, so the third quarterback could enter the game at any time, and be replaced at any time. In the case of Webb, that means that he could be there as a backup quarterback, a kick returner (as we saw against the Buffalo Bills last season before he tweaked his hamstring), or whatever other role Leslie Frazier would want to use him in.
Frazier has said that it's unlikely that Webb would be used in such a role this season. . .but, you know, NFL coaches say a lot of things. It would be an option for the Vikings to explore, and it certainly can't be ruled out before Frazier has conducted his first practice as the Vikings' permanent head coach.