At the time, I felt that the Minnesota Vikings should trade a third-round pick or higher to acquire Whitehurst. I must admit, however, even I was giddy over the haul the Chargers picked up from the Seahawks!
When I look at the Minnesota Vikings I think of two things: stopping the run and running the ball. This is the foundation of a Super Bowl-winning team.
Unfortunately, I also see bad quarterback play, as young Tavaris Jackson has been improperly groomed to lead this potentially great Minnesota team.
I am in disbelief that the Vikings allowed New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassell to slip through their fingers, though they may have never seriously had a shot to bring the one-year wonder up north with former Patriot personnel man Scott Pioli intercepting Matt Cassell in Kansas City.
A player that has been properly groomed to become a starter is San Diego Chargers third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Plagued with inconsistency at Clemson due to injury and ineffective line play, he has had three years to learn behind Pro Bowler Philip Rivers.
If there is one thing Charger players are good at, it's handing down heart and work ethic. Doug Flutie taught Drew Brees how to prepare. Brees taught Rivers how to prepare. So you have to believe that Rivers and second-stringer Billy Volek have taught Whitehurst to prepare.
The big (6'4" 220 lbs), strong-armed Whitehurst has had three seasons to adjust to the pro game and has been relaying and studying plays with Rivers his entire career.
Whitehurst played (started) four years of college ball, which tends to be an accurate barometer of whether a player will be a successful NFL quarterback.
Whitehurst would not come without risks, however.
In college, despite a very fast 40-yard dash time of 4.75 seconds, he was not known as an escape artist by any means. He was also wildly inconsistent for a variety of reasons, which included lack of proper footwork, blitz recognition, bad offensive line play, and injuries. In fact, he is recovering from shoulder surgery as we speak.
San Diego has drafted and coached up two great quarterbacks in Brees and Rivers. There is no reason to believe that the Bolts suddenly decided to neglect Whitehurst.
In Rivers' rookie season, they had Cleo Lemon, Flutie, Rivers, and Brees as their four quarterbacks. At one point, Brees, Rivers, and Lemon were all starting on Sundays, with Doug Flutie backing up Tom Brady.
San Diego knows a thing or two about quarterbacks after the Ryan Leaf fiasco. Listen to me Vikes: Get this guy!
Bottom line: Charlie Whitehurst would come cheap from a proven farm system in San Diego. When you snag a player from the Chargers (that they are not running out of town like Shane Olivea, David Boston, or Toniu Fonoti), you are likely to get a good player (see Ben Leber, Drew Brees, or Michael Turner).
With the Vikings having a great rushing attack and a fine offensive line, they could ease Whitehurst in while searching for a true No. 1 receiver for him to throw to. Just keep TO away.
A second, or better yet, a third-round pick may be well worth the risk to get a properly groomed, athletically gifted quarterback that can make all the throws. If he is a hit, the Vikings would immediately become a serious Super Bowl contender.
If he misses, at least you tried, right?