Minnesota Vikings: Is Joe Webb the Franchise Quarterback of the Future?

Tanner ThomsSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 05:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings talks with teammate Joe Webb #14 as they leave the field after defeating the Buffalo Bills at the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on December 5, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

If you follow the NFL on a regular basis you now know exactly who Joe Webb is. But in case you're unfamiliar, allow me to tell you who he is.

Webb, a sixth-rounder out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, was originally expected to be a wide receiver for the Vikings.

When Brett Favre was expected to retire, Webb began taking practice reps as a quarterback instead. That said, he still wasn't expected to see the field in 2010.

Now in Week 15, Joe is the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. I'm sure almost everyone expected that to happen, right? Wrong.

Webb saw limited time against the New York Giants in Week 14 after Tarvaris Jackson went down early in the game with a knee injury.

He completed  2-of-5 passes for eight yards. He also scrambled for a 16-yard gain, which got somebody a point in fantasy football!

Tarvaris returned during the Vikings' next possession, moving Webb back to the bench, holding the clipboard.

Still, no one expected Webb to start for Minnesota.

A few days ago, Jackson was placed on injured reserve. Webb's chances of starting were getting considerably better.

Brett Favre, who still had a chance to start, was the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart.

As of today, Favre was ruled out for Monday night's NFC North showdown against the 9-4 Chicago Bears.

After all that happened, Webb was named the starter over newly-signed Patrick Ramsey. Not much of a shocker on that part.

Now with the reigns of the offense in his grasp, will Joe Webb be able to lead the Vikings to a win at TCF Bank Stadium?

With the snow on the ground where the Minnesota Gophers play on Saturday's, both teams will likely run the ball more.

While Webb's throwing attempts will be seriously limited, he could wind up with several rushing attempts that will result in big yards.

Judging from in-person and television experience, Joe is one of the best running quarterback's that I have ever had the privilege of seeing.

Although he's nowhere nearly as talented as Michael Vick was when he came into the league, Webb has almost the exact same qualities.

Webb has a very strong arm, but his accuracy has always been an issue. Several times during the preseason he failed to get the ball to his open targets.

However, most rookie quarterbacks struggle with that, so I won't write Webb off as being an inaccurate quarterback.

Minnesota's coaches, players and front-office won't be expecting a huge game from Webb, and they shouldn't anyways.

It's tough to anticipate a great game from a rookie that wasn't expected to start until 2012, if ever at all.

With Brett Favre almost a lock to retire after this season and Tavaris Jackson slated for free agency, Minnesota could wind up rolling the dice on Joe Webb in 2011.

The Vikings are now out of the playoffs, which should lead to Minnesota seeing exactly what they have with Webb in the three remaining games.

If Webb can display the talent he has until season's end, the Vikings won't have to select a quarterback in either the first or second round.

It seems to me that Webb has nothing to play for, but then again he has a lot to play for towards the future.

With several great targets on offense, Joe won't have a tough time making the key throws, unlike most young quarterback's that come into the NFL.

Also, Webb will be able to hand off to one of the best running back's in the game today, Adrian Peterson.

Minnesota's stellar running game will serve as a comfort to him if he fails to succeed through the air on Sunday.

Monday night should be an interesting game in many aspects for all Minnesota Vikings fans. We could either be witnessing our quarterback of the future or another guy who is just a fill-in for a short amount of time.

Either way, Webb will be the starting quarterback for the Vikings against the Chicago Bears.

I would definitely look elsewhere for a quarterback on your fantasy football lineup, but he is worth a start as a wide receiver in all leagues.

He likely won't be catching any passes this season, but the yards he totals through the air and on the ground will equal points even under the "wide receiver" category.

Less than 48 hours remaining until kickoff on Monday night. Joe Webb, the team is yours.


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