After years of back-and-forth retirement(s), it doesn't feel like spring unless we catch up on some Brett Favre scuttlebutt. This spring may be a bit different, however, as it seems that Favre may actually be gone for good.
The big question for the Minnesota Vikings at this point is choosing how they are going to replace the "Silver Fox." With the NFL lockout looming, it could make finding Favre's replacement a bit more difficult.
Will they replace him internally with either Joe Webb or Tarvaris Jackson? I'd say this is worst-case scenario, as neither Webb nor Jackson have left coaches believing. Considering the abundance of arms available in this year's NFL draft, the Vikings will more than likely select a quarterback at some point.
Even if the Vikings do opt to draft a quarterback in the first few rounds, it's still within the realm of possibility that they trade for a veteran quarterback to fill the vacancy for a few seasons, if not more. Of course, when the lockout ends will have a bearing on how this all plays out.
Here are five quarterback possibilities for the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
This all depends on when the lockout ends. If it continues on much longer, it's very possible that Tarvaris Jackson will be re-signed and given the nod as starter going into the 2011 season.
Jackson has been given ample opportunities to lead the Vikings but has never seized the moment. The skill-set is there; he just needs to improve his accuracy and let the game slow down around him.
Even if the Vikings were to draft a quarterback, history has proven that it's not always the best idea to make a rookie the starter right away. Jackson may not be a Pro Bowl–caliber gunslinger, but he is definitely a serviceable one who could do all right with Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin alongside him in the backfield.
Don't worry, Vikings fans, there is almost no possible scenario in which they make Joe Webb the starter.
Even though I believe Cam Newton will be a colossal bust as a quarterback in the NFL, there is no doubt the Vikings would grab Newton or Blaine Gabbert if one happens to be available with the 12th pick.
It may seem unlikely, but remember, even Aaron Rodgers dropped to 24th overall when some scouts thought he'd go to San Francisco with the first pick. It's easy to guess when a player will be drafted, but who really knows what organizations are thinking until draft day is upon us?
All I know is that a Newton-Peterson-Harvin backfield would be one I'd be excited to watch. This scenario entirely depends on what the Carolina Panthers decide to do with the first overall pick. If they go defense instead of quarterback, it's very possible either Newton or Gabbert will be available when the Vikings are on the clock.
It seems pretty obvious that Kevin Kolb will not be playing for the Philadelphia Eagles when the 2011 season begins. After putting the franchise tag on Michael Vick, the Eagles will be looking to trade their backup quarterback as soon as the lockout ends.
Kolb has a big arm and he's shown himself to be a capable quarterback in his limited opportunities. The Eagles' asking price would probably have to come down in order to make a deal, but considering the Vikings are only a quarterback away from being a legitimate contender in the NFC, it's quite possible that owner Zygi Wilf would overpay to get Kolb behind center in Minnesota.
If Wilf was willing to give $15-$20 million to a 41-year-old Brett Favre, he would probably be willing to overpay for a quarterback they could get another 10 years out of (and maybe a new stadium?).
Mallett has the potential to be a great quarterback in the NFL. It seems unlikely that six quarterbacks will be selected before the Vikings second-round pick comes up. Out of Newton, Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andrew Dalton, Christian Ponder and Ryan Mallett, I'd think at least two of them will be available when the Vikings are up with the 43rd pick.
Due to recent drug allegations thrown Mallett's way, it's very possible he will be available for the Vikings choosing. We've seen in the past that the Vikings are willing to take a chance on a player with a history of drug-related issues, i.e. Randy Moss, Percy Harvin and Everson Griffin, to name a few. For the most part, it has seemed to work out well for the Vikings.
If Mallett can deal with his personal issues, he could end up being a steal if he falls to the Vikings in the second round.
Knock on Donovan McNabb all you want, but he is better than his stats indicated during his 2010 season with the Washington Redskins. He never really fit into Mike Shanahan's scheme from the beginning.
Even though the Vikings are getting rid of their West Coast offense under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, McNabb could still fill the vacancy for a couple of years while grooming a young quarterback like Mallett to take over in the future.
With Peterson in the backfield, the Vikings only need a quarterback who can keep turnovers to a minimum and make the occasional play, a la Brett Favre in 2009. With McNabb, who has already spoken out about possibly liking the match in Minnesota, the Vikings could be contenders for the next few seasons before having a smooth transition to a younger quarterback in the future.