Minnesota Vikings: Move Joe Webb to Wide Receiver Permanently

Mike NelsonCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2011

Joe Webb has too much talent and athleticism to merely serve as a backup quarterback.
Joe Webb has too much talent and athleticism to merely serve as a backup quarterback.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We saw it early on in Sunday’s 35-32 loss to the Denver Broncos, but the Minnesota Vikings allowed Joe Webb to see time on the field as a wide receiver.

He was only targeted once during the contest, but that target resulted in a 28-yard gain that was nullified by a pass interference call.

But what we know about Webb is that he’s an athlete. He can run and jump like a wide receiver and has the size (6’4”, 220 pounds) to be a play-making wide receiver in the NFL. All he needs is the opportunity to adapt to Minnesota’s offensive system as a wide receiver and become more developed, which will come from spending additional time with the wide receivers coach.

The problem is the Vikings are hell-bent upon leaving Webb at quarterback. To a certain degree it makes sense—for the short term.

With Donovan McNabb gone and Sage Rosenfels recently acquired to serve as Minnesota’s third quarterback, the position is thin. I get it. The Vikings don’t want their current backup quarterback to get injured and leave the backup duties to a player—Rosenfels—that doesn’t know all the intricacies of the system.  

However, by the end of the season Webb should be converted back to a wide receiver, the position Minnesota initially planned to play him at when it drafted him in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Once Rosenfels understands the Minnesota offense well enough to be the backup, which shouldn’t be more than two weeks—well, let’s be honest, Minnesota’s offense won’t be that good if he has to go in anyway, and his mastery of it won’t matter.

Minnesota’s wide receivers corps is possibly more crippled than its quarterback position. Michael Jenkins, who has the second-most receiving yards for a Minnesota wide receiver (466), was placed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury on Nov. 30.

Despite the strong showing from wide receivers Percy Harvin (career-high 156 yards receiving Sunday) and Devin Aromashodu (season-high 90 receiving yards), those two have been extremely inconsistent this season (and Aromashodu for his entire career).

Minnesota needs a talented, playmaking wide receiver like it had in Sidney Rice the previous two seasons.

Not going to say Webb will be or could be Rice, but the two are the same height (6’4”) and Webb is even 18 pounds heavier than Rice, who weighs 202 pounds. Additionally, not only is Webb heavier, but he’s faster.

Webb won’t be Sidney Rice. Just want to make that clear. But he has the talent to be a playmaker from the wide receiver position.

With Christian Ponder having the quarterback position locked down for the next five years, there is no need to leave a talent like Webb’s on the bench. Let him get on the field and use his natural athleticism to benefit the team.