Vikings Weigh Their Quarterback Options: Sage Rosenfels or Joe Webb?
From a non-retirement offseason to undergoing ankle surgery for Brett Favre, there are plenty of reasons for Vikings fans to be confident that No. 4 will be under center September 9 in New Orleans to kick off the 2010 NFL Season.
With the potential return of Favre, which is definitely the ideal situation in Minnesota, there might have to be some reshuffling behind him on the depth chart at the quarterback position.
After optional and mandatory minicamp sessions this past month, it is apparent that Tarvaris Jackson will be the guy to back up Favre this season if he returns.
While Jackson's four-year career has been marred with inconsistent play, he showed flashes of consistency during the 2009 season, going 14-21 for 201 yards and 1 touchdown while posting a 113.4 quarterback rating during some mop-up duty when the Vikings had games in check.
The 2010 NFL Draft came and went with no selections that would indicate the team wanted to go in a different direction at quarterback besides the players that were already on the roster. It would be Favre (most likely), Jackson, and Sage Rosenfels, who the team acquired from the Houston Texans for a 4th-round selection during the 2009 offseason.
However, during this summer's minicamp workouts, the coaching staff decided they wanted to see 6th-round pick Joe Webb, who converted to wide receiver due to his athletic ability, throw the football.
Webb was the starting QB at UAB before being drafted in April and was named the Conference USA Player of Year for the 2009 season, throwing for 2,299 yards and 21 TD's while adding 1,427 yards and 11 touchdowns on 227 attempts rushing the football.
In fact, Webb became the first player in NCAA history to throw for more than 2,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards in two consecutive seasons ('08 and '09).
After watching Webb's ability to throw the football, the coaching staff gave him several reps with the second team behind Tarvaris Jackson (Rosenfels' normal role in practice) and have decided he will enter training camp in Mankato, Minn. as a quarterback.
Right now, it appears unlikely the team will keep four quarterbacks on the roster assuming Favre returns sometime before the regular season.
When the heat of training camp rolls around on July 30, the Vikings coaching staff might have to weigh their options when it comes to the No. 3 spot on the quarterback depth chart and it looks to be between rookie Joe Webb and veteran Sage Rosenfels.
So let's get a jump start on the two candidates.
Webb put up great numbers at the NFL Combine back in February, running a 4.43 forty and a 42 1/2 inch vertical jump.
When the Vikings selected him 199th overall, word was that he would have to make an NFL roster at the wide receiver position or as a quarterback in the wildcat formation that has been used more and more recently to catch defenses off-guard.
While Webb has shown he also has a strong arm on top of all of his athletic ability, coaching staffs and scouts can all agree that it's not easy at all for a rookie to adapt to the speed of NFL defenses and learn the mental part of the game in quick fashion.
In order for Webb to get a shot as the No. 3 quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, he must show the coaching staff that he has the work ethic not only on the field, but off the field in the film room to learn the packages and schemes of the NFL.
After Rosenfels was acquired by the Vikings in February of 2008, it appeared he finally had a chance in his career to battle for a starting quarterback position.
After coming into the league in 2001 with the Redskins, the journeyman quarterback first played with the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans. In Houston, Rosenfels was a solid backup to Matt Schaub and got some playing time during the 2008 season when Schaub went down with a knee injury against the Vikings.
In six games in 2008, five in which he started, Rosenfels threw for 1,431 yards and 6 touchdowns. He seemed poised to make his first step to the big time with a new team.
Enter Brett Favre.
With Favre and Jackson both ahead of him on the depth chart during the 2009 season, Rosenfels never took a snap, mostly helping out the quarterbacks with polaroid pictures on the sidelines between offensive series.
What sets Rosenfels apart from Webb is his experience in the league and having one year of Brad Childress' offensive scheme under his belt.
In order to win the No. 3 quarterback position again for the 2010 season, he must show his understanding of the offense and prove that although he doesn't have the athletic ability of Webb, he can still hang in the pocket and get the ball downfield with his arm.
It is just over a month until the team starts camp and the coaching staff has several options to weigh including the future of the quarterback position.
It can't come soon enough.
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