Minnesota Vikings Offseason: With Brett Favre's Retirement, Who's Left in 2011?

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Minnesota Vikings Offseason: With Brett Favre's Retirement, Who's Left in 2011?
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After 20 long, grueling, and often-tumultuous seasons, NFL quarterback Brett Favre appears to have finally played his last down of football, filing retirement papers with the league of Monday.

Despite a near-Superbowl birth in 2009, and all the locker room's pleading for Favre to return to Minnesota for the 2010 season, not even the legend himself could bring the Vikings to a record any better than 6-10.

By even the most optimistic of Vikings fan standards, Brett Favre's final season was essentially a bust. Along the way costing head coach Brad Childress his job, becoming involved in a "sexting" scandal with a Jets' female hostess, and snapping his iron-man streak of most consecutive starts.

It's worth noting that Favre has filed retirement forms before with the Green Bay Packers, but was reinstated to join the New York Jets. Going into the offseason with career lows, a long list of injuries, an expiring contract, legal problems, and age factored in, coming out of retirement again is highly unlikely .

So what options are there now for new head coach Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings?

1. Roster Holdovers

There are currently three quarterbacks on the Vikings roster. Patrick Ramsey, Rhett Bomar, and Joe Webb. The most likely name to stand out to the average fan would be Joe Webb, the rookie passer who started two games this season during Favre's injuries.

Webb failed to throw a touchdown pass on his way to a 60.9 rating this season, but showed signs of promise during the course of the year. During the Week 16 match-up with Philadelphia, Webb had his best game by far, making a lot of plays with his speed and feet. It remains to be seen if Frazier sees him as a valid starting option for the future, or if he is merely a situational player.

Rhett Bomar and Patrick Ramsey are essentially depth by all accounts. Ramsey has been a career backup with limited potential, and Bomar is a former-Oklahoma University dismissal that finally cracked an active NFL roster due to positional injuries. Ramsey is likely not an option, and Bomar is a project that will take some time, if he ever comes around.

2. Free Agency

In all likelihood, the Vikings will be signing a quarterback in free agency. Not necessarily to be a starter, but a veteran influence is vital when developing young prospects. Peyton Manning and Michael Vick are free agents by name only, as they are practically a guarantee to return to Indianapolis and Philadelphia. Matt Hasselbeck has made it known he'd like to return to Seattle, and head coach Pete Carroll agreed with that sentiment, making it unlikely he leaves as well.

That leaves Minnesota to choose from bringing back Tavaris Jackson, Seneca Wallace, Matt Moore, Alex Smith, Matt Leinart, Trent Edwards, Brady Quinn, Rex Grossman, or Troy Smith.

Seneca Wallace played well in limited action last season, and the jury is still out of Troy Smith and Matt Moore. Otherwise, we're looking at the future NFL Backups of America Club.

3. 2011 NFL Draft

With Andrew Luck going back to Stanford, it exposes this draft as the weakest quarterback class in recent memory. Blaine Gabbert of Missouri is the No. 1 passer thus far, but is a huge project by all scouting reports. A strong arm and ideal size is tempting, as his upside is tremendous, but paying him top ten money will be the deciding factor.

The other top passers coming out this year include newly crowned superhero Cam Newton of the National Champion Auburn Tigers, who scouts have said will either bust or be the next Donovan McNabb or Ben Roethlisberger.

Jake Locker, who may have been the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, had a horrible season this year and exposed many of his problems. While he's still regarded as a first round pick, he needs a lot more work and coaching than previously thought.

Finally, Ryan Mallet had a solid season with Arkansas, but is drawing character and mechanic concerns in the vein of Jimmy Clausen and Matt Leinart. If Clausen is of any comparison, expect Mallet to fall out of the first round into the second, where a team may take a chance on him.

4. Trade

A trade seems like the best option, since a first round pick on any of these prospects seems like a waste of time and money, especially for the Vikings who need to get younger on the defensive line.

The two most highly regarded passers that are reportedly on the trade block at the moment are Packers backup Matt Flynn, who looked great in limited action this season, and Eagles backup Kevin Kolb. Kolb was supposed to be the starter after posting a couple 300+ yard games last season, but Michael Vick has made him expendable.

Either player would be worth trading a second round pick for, as both are better prospects than the likes of Ryan Mallet of Arkansas or Pat Devlin of Delaware.

New regimes always mean new quarterbacks, so for Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings, it's not a question of if, but who?

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