Heading into free agency, the only quarterback with significant starting experience left on the Vikings roster will be Christian Ponder.
A quarterback who can be described best as a lighting rod of controversy, Master Tesfatsion of Minneapolis Star-Tribune said, "Ideally, he (Spielman) said he’d like to have Ponder, a veteran and a rookie compete for the starting position."
Browsing the current market for a veteran signal-caller brings back nothing but diminishing returns. Guys like Michael Vick, Matt Cassel, Chad Henne and Matt Flynn are all salvageable options who are each plagued with their own set of issues.
If you go up a tier, divisional foe Josh McCown of the Chicago Bears is sitting there.
While you could put together a compelling case that his success was the product of Marc Trestman's offensive scheme, SI.com's Doug Farrar seems to think otherwise:
Yes, McCown’s a system guy — but that’s far from pejorative when you have the kind of season he had. On a team where the deep ball isn’t a major component, he could have an interesting renaissance.
Figuring out the best course of action to address the need for a veteran QB, Spielman would be wise to make sure that Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has a vested interest and constant dialogue throughout the process.
Turner's rich history with quarterbacks makes him the quintessential candidate to help restructure the dismal QB situation that unfolded in Minnesota.
Understanding what Turner brings to the table, Spielman said at the NFL combine:
We rely on everything, some outside stuff that I use, rely on Norv. He'll have a huge influence on what direction this quarterback goes. Ultimately, I'm the one that's going to get the final say on it. But no, that's why you hire people who are experts in their area, to get advice.
The one underlying theme that has to stay on the forefront of the search is that the Vikings absolutely cannot overpay for a veteran QB.
No matter who they bring in, the goal has to be to come up with an incentive-laden, low-term contract that benefits the organization's long-term agenda.