Adrian Peterson's Vick-to-Vikings Talk Makes Sense for Minnesota

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMarch 7, 2014

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Generally speaking, players without the last name Manning don't have a whole lot of say in the personnel decisions of NFL teams. Sure, they have opinions, but at the end of the day, those opinions don't really count.

However, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has some clout, so when he mentions adding a player in free agency, people pay attention.

Especially when that suggestion makes sense.

On Wednesday evening Peterson took to Twitter and made a bold (if a bit grammatically incorrect) statement:

The 33-year-old Vick began last season as the starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, but after throwing for just over 1,200 yards and five touchdowns in seven games, an injured Vick was supplanted for good by a rising Nick Foles under center for the Eagles.

Now, Vick heads into free agency as the top option in an underwhelming class that includes the likes of Josh McCown, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman.

Of course, two of those players started games for the Vikings in 2013, which only serves to underscore just how desperately the Vikings need a quarterback.

And boy, do they need a quarterback.

Minnesota Vikings QBs 2013
Per Vikings' website

The Vikings ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing offense last year, which is actually something of an achievement given how badly their rotating quarterbacks played. As if that wasn't bad enough, the equally uninspiring Christian Ponder is the only quarterback currently under contract.

It's why everyone and their mother expects the Vikings to be in the market for a quarterback early in the 2014 NFL draft, but that's a problematic option in and of itself.

By the time the Vikings pick at No. 8, at least two (and quite possibly more) of this year's top quarterback prospects will all but certainly be off the board. The Vikings could wait until the second round for a player, like LSU's Zach Mettenberger or Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, but neither of those youngsters is NFL-ready.

That's a problem, because as ESPN's Kevin Seifert points out, Peterson isn't really in a position to wait:

Peterson turns 29 later this month, and with over 2,000 career carries on his frame, the 2012 NFL MVP is closer to the end of the ride than the beginning.

Yes, the Vikings need to groom a new quarterback, but more lost seasons like 2013 aren't going to sit well with the face of the franchise.

That's where Vick comes in.

Mind you, this isn't to say that Vicks is going to ride into town and single-handedly save the day. Hardly.

Mike Vick
Year(s)Comp. %PYPGRatingTotal TDTotal TO
Per Pro Football Reference

Since being named Comeback Player of the Year in 2010, Vick has regressed back into bad habits and shown the durability issues that have dogged him throughout his career.

In fact, since that magical 2010 campaign, Vick has 39 total touchdowns against 40 turnovers, all while missing significant time each season due to injury.

And yet he's still the top free-agent quarterback available by a large margin. His legs may not be as fast as they once were, but as he showed with 99 rushing yards against the Kansas City Chiefs last September, Vick can still make teams pay. The 428 yards he threw for the week before against the San Diego Chargers shows there's still juice in that left arm.

The money to sign Vick isn't an issue. According to Spotrac, the Vikings have nearly $41 million in cap space for the upcoming season. Only four NFL teams have more.

The Vikings have also had some success in the past with retread quarterbacks. Randall Cunningham was 34 when he signed with the Vikings in 1997. Brett Favre was 40 when he joined Minnesota in 2009.

They each led the Vikings to within one game of the Super Bowl.

Yes, the success was short-lived, and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told ESPN's Colin Cowherd (via Ben Goessling) there were other considerations when thinking about pursuing a big name under center:

When Brett Favre was here it became a real media attention grabber, but we ended up getting to the NFC Championship Game. A lot of it has to do with how the coaches feel about it. Do you want the distractions? Is your team mature enough to handle the distractions? It's always going to come down to: Can you handle it and is he going to help you win ballgames?

Still, it's hard to see what exactly the Vikings have to lose by pursuing Vick. The financial commitment probably won't be exorbitant, especially since the Vikings can offer Vick the opportunity to start. It's an opportunity Vick has lobbied publicly for:

The Vikings can still (and should still) draft a quarterback early, but there won't be as much pressure to get that young quarterback onto the field right away.

Worst case? Vick is turnover-prone and/or gets hurt, and the team has to turn elsewhere at the midway point of the season.

In other words, the best-case scenario for someone like Cassel or Freeman.

In a best-case scenario, there's yet another twilight resurgence by a Vikings quarterback that leaves everyone shaking their heads.

I think Peterson, who was around for the last one, is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice.

Is that likely? No. But at the very least, Vick is the best stop-gap option the Vikings are going to find in 2014. You know it. I know it. Peterson and Spielman know it.

Whether Peterson will get his wish remains to be seen, but given their cap situation coming off last year's disaster, it's a safe bet that Spielman and the Vikings will at least look into granting it.


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