Anyone who’s been a Vikings fan for more than, say, 5 minutes, knows we’ve had a bit of an issue at quarterback since, oh… Tommy Kramer was replaced. The Vikings have a long history of short-term drivers at the helm. The closest we’ve been to a franchise QB in recent memory was Daunte Culpepper. Yes, he spent 7 seasons with us, but he only started all 16 games during 3 of those seasons. And they weren’t even consecutive seasons. And still somehow he made the 50 Greatest Vikings of All-Time. That’s how you know there were a lot of younger people voting who weren’t alive during the 70′s and 80′s. But, that’s a topic for a different time.
The Vikings are at a crossroads right now as it pertains to the quarterback position. I think we all know that the Vikings need to find a long-term capable QB to man the helm – but are we willing to go through a Panthers-, Browns- or Lions-like season as we wait for our newbie QB to percolate? I guess it could be argued that we just had one of those kinds of seasons – but with a veteran QB… but I digress. The prevailing wisdom says that the Vikings are going to find a veteran QB to lead the team for 2 years or so while Joe Webb or some QB we draft this year or next “grows” under said-veteran’s tutelage.
There has been a lot of speculation as to what the Vikings might do vis à vis the temporary stop-gap at QB. Before Chilly was rightly fired, there was talk of Donovan McNabb joining the team. After Chilly was fired, there was talk that Brett Favre might come back for a third season with the Vikings since Chilly was gone. When the Vikings were interviewing Josh McDaniels for OC, there was Kyle Orton-to-the-Vikings talk. Now with the hiring of Craig Johnson as the quarterbacks coach, talk of Vince Young are heating up. I’ve even heard Alex Smith brandied about due to the Mike Singletary acquisition, which is odd given that Singletary sat Alex Smith in favor of Troy Smith. And unrelated to all of these – but maybe more salient now given Chilly’s recent dinner with Marvin Lewis – mentions of Carson Palmer to the Vikings.
Now. Let me tell you from whom the Vikings should stay FAR, FAR AWAY during this search.
1. Vince Young. The Vikings do not need another high-maintenance head-case on the team. No, I’m not talking about Brett Favre. I am talking about Randy Moss stopping by for 3ish weeks during the 2010 season and other assorted Vikings players who have embarrassed the franchise over the last 6 or so years (yeah, Bryant McKinnie & Daunte Culpepper – I’m talking to you!). I don’t care what Vince Young’s record is. I believe him to be a locker-room cancer. That is something we don’t need. I’d rather watch Joe Webb run around like a chicken with its head cut off than introduce someone as volatile as Young to the mix.
2. Donovan McNabb. McNabb’s tank is about 62% full. Which is to say he can make it through about 41.5 minutes of a 60 minute game. The Vikings need a quarterback who can play all 60 minutes. There’s a reason McNabb was benched and it’s not because he’s supremely awesome or even the Donovan McNabb of 5 years ago. Let us cut our Philly ties and let McNabb walk on by. For truly it would be better to watch Aaron Rodgers throw to imaginary receivers all day long than it would be to see McNabb in the sacred Purple.
3. Carson Palmer. Palmer spent his rookie season (2003) learning from Jon Kitna, who earned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year that season. In 2004, Palmer took over the helm and in 2005, gave the Bengals their first winning season since 1990. That all sounds great, but Palmer hasn’t posted a passer rating above 87 since 2006. In 2008 his elbow was surgically repaired. Not to mention he just doesn’t look commanding on the field. So, if I hear one more KFAN pundit or see one more Tweet saying we should go after Carson Palmer, I will scream. Carson Palmer is not the answer.
So. You may be wondering what I think we should do. Or, maybe you’re not. But you’re here reading, so I’m going to tell you. I think we should draft a QB in the 1st round of 2011 (assuming there is still a decent one to be had) and bring in <drum roll> Shaun Hill to compete with Joe Webb and the other drafted QB. That’s right. I said Shaun Hill. In 2009, he did a solid job for the 49ers and in 2010, he filled in capably for an injured Matthew Stafford, until he was injured himself, with a fracture to his left non-throwing arm. It’s worth noting that Shaun’s NFL career started with the Minnesota Vikings. He joined the team as an undrafted free-agent in 2002 and saw his first snaps at the end of the 2005 season… ok, so he took a knee twice to end a game, but still!
I think Shaun Hill is seasoned enough to mentor the younger QBs and would be thankful to join a team with a receiving corps that included players like Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe and (probably) Sidney Rice. Paired with a runningback like Adrian Peterson, I think Shaun Hill could be very competitive. It also helps that he signed a 1 year contract with the Lions, which would mean that the Vikings wouldn’t have to trade draft picks they don’t have due to Chilly’s insanity.
The other option might be Kyle Orton. The Broncos have made coaching changes and have added John Elway to the front office and there appear to be some Tebow fans in the group, so Orton may be at risk for demotion. He is under contract with the Broncos through the 2011 season, so obtaining him might cost the Vikings a draft pick or two.
What other options do we have Vikings Nation? Leave a comment and get the discussion started. And don’t forget to vote below.