A few days ago, I wrote that it would be a bit of an upset if quarterback Matt Cassel wasn't serving as Teddy Bridgewater's backup next season. Well, in the words of mid-century philosopher Gomer T. Pyle. . .
SURPRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE SURPRISE SURPRISE!
As Eric informed you a little while ago, the Vikings traded Cassel and a sixth-round pick to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a fifth-round pick this year and a seventh-round pick in 2016. So, with Cassel out of the picture and Christian Ponder and his wife slated to absorb ridiculous insults in a different NFL city next season, the Vikings have a vacancy at the backup quarterback spot that needs to be filled.
I talked about how weak the free agent quarterback market looked when I said that I'd be surprised if Cassel wouldn't be back. Now that he's gone, it needs to be examined in a little more detail. So, let's go ahead and do that now.
The guys that probably aren't options because they think they can start somewhere else
Jake Locker (TEN) - Locker might be the highest-profile name in this year's free agent quarterback class, but that's sort of like the "tallest midget" designation, quite frankly. For his career, he's completed just 57.5% of his passes, and has a career TD-to-INT ratio of 27/22 over four NFL season. The #8 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, he has only played in 14 games over the past two seasons (starting 12) due to injuries, and really hasn't shown a whole lot over that time. Still, he probably isn't coming to Minnesota to sit behind Bridgewater.
Brian Hoyer (CLE) - Yes, the Norv Turner connection is there, but in his first full season as a starter, Hoyer completely fell apart towards the end of the season. How bad was it? It was "getting benched for Johnny Manziel" bad. Our friends over at Buffalo Rumblings did a bit of an analysis of Hoyer and. . .well, it's not pretty. He's not terribly accurate, and he wound up throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 2014. Plus, with just 17 NFL starts under his belt, I'm not sure how much value he provides. And, again, he probably isn't going somewhere that he knows he has no chance of starting.
The other guy with an obvious connection to Norv Turner
Jason Campbell (CIN) - You know how long Jason Campbell has been in the NFL? He was drafted the year before Chad Greenway. Yes, that long. Campbell did play for Turner during his one season in Cleveland in 2013, and didn't do that terribly, despite his 1-7 record as a starter that season. That was also the last season that Campbell took a snap in the NFL, as he didn't do anything last year with the Bengals. Still, the connection to Turner and the length of time he's been in the league. . .not to mention that he'd probably be relatively inexpensive. . .might make him attractive to the Vikings.
The guy that people will make jokes about but, let's be honest, they could do a lot worse
Tarvaris Jackson (SEA) - Oh, wait. . .that's "former Super Bowl champion Tarvaris Jackson" to you and I. Yes, I know he only contributed slightly more to the Seattle Seahawks' championship season than Percy Harvin did, but T-Jack has been around the league for nine seasons now. He's been there, ladies and gentlemen. . .he's seen things. Jackson took a lot of flack in Minnesota because he was probably drafted too high. . .which really isn't his fault. . .and got jerked around quite a bit during his time in Minnesota. And he handled the whole Brett Favre circus as well as anybody could have expected. I'm sure that Teddy Bridgewater could learn a thing or two from Jackson.
The guy that was a hot ticket a few years ago but hasn't done a whole lot recently
Matt Moore (MIA) - Moore has been with the Dolphins for the last four seasons, but hasn't seen significant action since 2011, when he started 12 games for Miami. That season, he completed a little over 60% of his passes, and threw 16 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2012, and has only attempted 39 passes over the last three seasons combined. He's been behind Ryan Tannehill in Miami for the past three years, and I'm not sure if the Dolphins have designs on bringing him back or anything.
The "nope" crowd
Pretty much everybody else on this list that's going to end up being available. Seriously, there are really zero attractive names on that list outside of the ones that I've listed above.
So, where do you think the Vikings should be looking in terms of a veteran backup quarterback?