BREAKING - Vikings QB Christian Ponder (sore right elbow) INACTIVE. Backup Joe Webb will start tonight vs. Packers.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 5, 2013
The question is: Who is Joe Webb?
The backup signal-caller has not taken a snap all season and has spent little time on the field since joining the Vikings in the 2010 draft. Let's find out how he got to this point.
Webb played his college football at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He was redshirted as a freshman and spent time as a wide receiver before being named the starting quarterback his junior year.
Webb quickly asserted himself as a tremendous dual-threat weapon, throwing for 2,367 yards and rushing for 1,021 more that season.
However, it was his senior year where Webb showed true NFL potential. In 2009, he threw for 2,299 yards, 21 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Webb added 1,427 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground.
Time with Minnesota
Webb was not invited to the 2010 NFL Combine and was actually drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round as a WR prospect. Minnesota quickly decided that his talents would be better served as a full-time QB.
Webb sat behind Brett Favre in his rookie campaign and remained in second place on the depth chart when Christian Ponder was drafted last season. He has only been able to flash his abilities, but when he is in the game Minnesota runs a drastically altered offense.
Webb's occasional time on the field has been known as a "blazer package." He is adept at moving the pocket laterally and extending plays with his feet. In fact, Webb has 273 rushing yards on just 41 NFL attempts.
The reason he has not had too many opportunities at the pro level is because the 6'4", 220-pound QB is turnover-prone. Webb has thrown five interceptions on just 88 career passes and has also fumbled the ball twice.
What this means for Minnesota vs. Green Bay
In a perfect world, the Vikings would have Ponder under center. However, all hope is not lost with Webb at QB. No one knows how he will react to the playoff lights, but keep in mind that Green Bay had no time to prepare for his skill set.
Webb is a completely different QB than Ponder with his elusiveness, athletic ability and penchant for extending plays with his feet. The offensive game plan will obviously still rely heavily on Adrian Peterson's rushing ability, but this added dimension could provide mismatches during the game.
Webb will have to find a way to be accurate and control the football when he does drop back to throw, but Minnesota's situation is not as dire as many may think.