Carson Palmer: Is the QB the Minnesota Vikings' Long-Lost Answer?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2011

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 21:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off of the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter of the Bengals 49-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

You'd be stretched to find a team that isn't facing a serious quarterback dilemma sometime this offseason. 

You'd also be stretched to find a head coach so willing to part with a trusty veteran, especially as the league's future is so uncertain.

Fortunately, you can stop looking though, because Marvin Lewis checks out in both of those categories.

Just when we talked Bengal fans down from the ledge, Lewis is set to spring another storyline on Cincinnati soon. The buzz around the league is that Lewis intends to say goodbye to quarterback Carson Palmer and instead explore other offensive routes moving forward.

Obviously, the cost of Lewis' gambling could be catastrophic. Fan attendance is set to plummet and paper bag sales will multiply while at the very most, Lewis may find himself jobless in the early days of October next season.

Perhaps all of that can be expected with the Bengals, but if one thing is for sure, the Minnesota Vikings aren't far away from picking up the scraps.

If Head Coach Leslie Frazier was short of quarterback options two months ago, he is now inundated with potential picks, some which include the likes of Kevin Kolb, while the seemingly-homeless Vince Young isn't out of the picture.

But what are the chances of the Vikings acquiring Palmer sometime soon? 

Don't write it off, especially since Palmer is now demanding a trade from owner Mike Brown.


The Pros

The skills of Palmer have been criticized from pillar to post in the past four years, contributing to the ever-growing ball of frustration that has come to life after such a horrendous season last year.

Still, Palmer's tank is far from dry, in fact, it is still pumping away. Since joining the Bengals in 2003, Palmer has thrown for 3,000 plus yards five times in his nine-year career, flattering statistics for a quarterback that has often struggled for success.

Better yet, Palmer has thrown 154 total touchdown passes in his career—this compares to his 100 interceptions, which at times have been produced by rather sloppy receiver play and a lapse in accuracy.

Speaking of receivers, Palmer also strives when surrounded by brilliance, just like every other quarterback. He may never be Tom Brady, but Palmer's golden moments have been shared with Chad Ochocinco, a promising situation with Sidney Rice and the ever-vibrant Percy Harvin awaiting in Minnesota.

But aside from what we already know, is there a chance Palmer could actually teach coach Frazier a thing or two?  After all, Frazier was tossed into the deep-end toward the end of last season following Brad Childress' departure and now steps into his first head coaching role since leading Trinity College in 1988.

I think you'll agree that Palmer can bring a slice of experience to Minnesota, right on the back end of the all-knowing Brett Favre. The Vikings are in need of a leader and although Palmer is no future political candidate, don't forget that he has attempted to keep Ochocinco in line for all of these years.

Minnesota can easily be a welcome change in the development of Palmer's career.


The Cons

The cons can be poured on thick and heavy when it comes to Palmer and in all reality there is good reasoning for this. 

Straight off the bat, accuracy is the biggest issue right now. Palmer completed just 362 of his 582 attempted passes in 2010, leaving reasonable doubt in any team's mind if they are considering to pick him up. The added bonuses of Harvin and Rice could prove beneficial, but there's no point signing Palmer if he can't hit his target.

Secondly, Palmer isn't getting any younger. There has been some conspiracy toward actively retiring ahead of 2011, mainly due to the fact that the Bengals aren't willing to cave in to his trade demands next season. Bringing in a young draft stud also adds salt to the situation and the chances of Palmer hanging around whilst another rookie receives game-time and added attention are quite low.

Thirdly, Palmer hasn't always made the most of his receiver options. Chad Ochocinco struggled to coexist with friend Terrell Owens last season, a duo which more or less canceled out one another on the field. More importantly, though, the acquisition of promising rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham fell flat at times, a bright area entering the season.

But all of this only scratches the surface, because if Palmer can't win, the Vikings nor any other team for that matter will consider him.  Minnesota's expectations feature the playoffs in mind and since Green Bay's Super Bowl victory, the Metrodome won't be so tolerant when it comes to losing. 

Palmer isn't clutch—heck, he threw nine fourth quarter touchdowns and eight fourth quarter interceptions last season. Ask Bengal fans what it's like to have Palmer in a two minute drill isn't much fun.


Will the Vikings Seriously Consider Palmer?

With the CBA throwing curveballs in every direction, the Bengals must play their cards carefully. If no agreement is reached sometime soon, Cincinnati will be unable to sign or trade for a quarterback, a situation which affects Palmer too, so if he wants out, he best do it quickly.

Palmer placed his house on the real estate market recently, indicating that he wants out of Cincinnati. Owner Mike Brown was verbal at the NFL Combine, stating that he won't cave-in to Palmer's demands, at least for the time being.

In Cincinnati's case, the prospect of Cam Newton is now much more visible. Should Newton fall past the top contenders in April, the Bengals may be willing to select Auburn's biggest star with the fourth pick, should he warrant being selected so highly.

The teams with demand for Palmer's services are many. There's a smorgasbord of options right now, but Minnesota has the money, talent and opportunity to fix their quarterback problem quickly. Either wait for Kevin Kolb or make a move now, the ball is in the Bengals court.


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Ryan Cook is an Australian Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and a writer for Acme Packing Company. He is also a guest writer for PackerChatters. Send him an email: