In Sage Rosenfels, the Minnesota Vikings Have Just What They Need

Ben SchmitContributor IAugust 16, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 14: Quarterback Sage Rosenfels #2 of the Minnesota Vikings calls out signals prior to the snap of the football against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 14, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Much has been said regarding the Minnesota Vikings and their troubles at the quarterback position—in the media, in the bars, and around the campfire.  Many believe that the Vikings are one position away from becoming the NFC favorite; one solid passer away from a legitimate Super Bowl run. 

And while some fans of the Purple and Gold lull themselves to sleep at night with visions of a Hall of Fame quarterback sharing the field with Adrian Peterson, few have considered what became readily apparent in the first two drives of Minnesota's first Preseason game in Indianapolis last Friday: Sage Rosenfels just might be good enough.

It is more than likely that Rosenfels is no Dan Marino waiting to happen; however, there is no denying the man's considerable skills.  An intelligent pocket presence with excellent leadership qualities on the field combined with an above-average ability to read opposing defenses is really all the Vikings' offense needs in order to move up to the next level. 

Sure, every fan wants Warren Moon's arm on Ben Rothlisberger's body with Joe Montana's brain leading their favorite offense, throwing for their team.  But let's be realistic, what does Minnesota really need?

Simply put, what the Vikings' offense needs in order to graduate into the upper-echelon, super-scary tier of elite units in the league is the ability to keep opposing teams alternating seven and eight men in the box.

If defenses are forced to respect the play action and the 15-yard dump pass, Adrian Peterson will be able to go to town all season long.  As soon as opponents start stacking the line to try to stop Peterson, a 20-yard pass to Sidney Rice (or to Percy Harvin) on a crossing pattern out of the slot will be enough to make a defensive coordinator think twice. 

Rosenfels has shown, both in Minnesota and throughout his career, that he is adept at this high-percentage, West Coast approach to moving the ball.

There are questions surrounding Rosenfels' arm strength, and his lack of consistent starting experience is also cause for concern.  These worries are mitigated, though, when one stops to consider the sheer number of mediocre quarterbacks in the history of the NFL who, right now, are owners of Super Bowl rings.

Rich Gannon, familiar to all Vikings fans, was a terrible quarterback for 15 years in the NFL before his one break-out season in 2002 helped Oakland get to and win the Big Game.

Trent Dilfer's Super Bowl season was representative of his milquetoast career, throwing for only 1,502 yards and for 12 touchdowns, achieving the dizzying passer rating of 76.6 on the season.

Jim McMahon led the Bears to a Super Bowl in the 1985 season throwing for only 2,392 yards and 15 touchdowns (passer rating of 82.6).  Surely, Sage Rosenfels passing for 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in a season, on this Vikings offense, takes little stretching of the imagination.

Every Vikings fan in the world knows what they want out of a starting quarterback.  The real question that needs to be asked is, "What do the Vikings need?"  Look at the glass half-full.  Look at what the Vikings don't have in a quarterback:

Minnesota doesn't have Michael Vick, and all the chaos to be expected with such a controversial figure.  Minnesota doesn't have, thank God, Brett Favre and that requisite pile of uncertainty and circus.  Nor does Minnesota have Jay Cutler, and the inevitable destruction of team cohesion that follows him like a cloud.

Who knows?  Perhaps Rosenfels will surprise everyone and emerge as a first rate starting NFL quarterback.  But until that happens, and even if it doesn't, the Vikings have everything they need to become one of the elite teams in the league, and perhaps even the next Super Bowl Champions.