Well. . .file this under "things I didn't ever expect to see."
The Minnesota Vikings have a new face sitting in on their quarterback meetings. Jeff George has returned to Vikings headquarters nearly a decade and a half after throwing his last pass for the franchise in the 1999 NFL season.
George's appearance led to an instant debate in Around The League circles: Is he there in a coaching or playing capacity? Both scenarios seemed entirely implausible. George's last NFL season was 2001, but his name still pops up once a year as he campaigns for another shot with a quarterback-needy team.
As it turns out, George is taking on a mentoring role with Christian Ponder, according to KFAN-AM, the Vikings' flagship radio station. Tom Pelissero of KSTP-AM confirms that George is serving as a "guest coach" during organized team activities.
George had a pretty good season for the Vikings back in 1999, when he took over the helm after a 2-4 start (when Randall Cunningham fell back to earth after his great 1998 season) and led the team to an 8-2 finish and a playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys before they got whipped by the "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams. He parlayed that into a couple of non-descript seasons with the Washington Redskins, and hasn't thrown a pass in the NFL since 2001.
Len Pasquarelli, formerly of ESPN, used to write an article every year that basically said "Hey, if you need a quarterback, Jeff George is still available." He's always sort of struck me as the Uncle Rico of quarterbacks. . .hell, he probably still thinks that he can throw a football over those mountains. In 2008, he said that his arm "felt like it was 25," and he also said he'd be "willing" to quarterback the Vikings had Brett Favre not come back for the 2010 season.
I'm sure that there are probably a few things about the finer points of the quarterback position that Jeff George could teach Christian Ponder and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. I just never thought I'd see the name Jeff George connected with any sort of mentoring position, that's all.