It doesn’t take much to set off a round of wild off-season speculation. All you need is a coaching hire, a prominent free agent and a glaring need at a key position and, voila, a fire-storm of guess-work and opinion.
Take what’s been going on today in Viking Nation as an example. This morning the Vikings announced the hiring of former Titans RB coach Craig Johnson as their new QB coach. No big deal really, except that prior to 2010 Johnson served as the Titans’ QB coach, in which capacity he oversaw the early development of quarterback Vince Young, a guy who at various times in his career has been thought of as a Pro Bowl level quarterback.
Now the pieces click into place: Johnson was Young’s QB coach, Young is currently on his way out of Tennessee after another tumultuous season and, oh just in case you didn’t notice, the Vikings currently have sort of a hole at quarterback.
So, naturally, this means Vince Young is about to board a plane to fly to Winter Park to meet with Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier. And five minutes after this meeting the Vikings will sign Vince and declare him their starting quarterback for 2011. And with Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin as his fellow weapons, Vince will resurrect his career and lead the Vikings back to the playoffs.
A nice fantasy scenario, if you’re willing to ignore one glaring fact: Vince Young isn’t that good.
Mostly, what Vince Young has going for him is the name Vince Young. People like him because he’s a star who once did amazing things in college and for a little while looked like a really good pro quarterback. The star-struck fan tends to ignore the fact that, overall, Young has been wildly inconsistent in the NFL. They also want to conveniently overlook the fact that he just about drove his last coach crazy and was finally told to take a hike by an owner who was once believed to be behind him 100%.
There’s a reason Vince is on a fast track out of Tennessee, and it’s not because he was treated unfairly. On the contrary, he was given every chance to succeed there, and finally demonstrated that he lacks the mental toughness to continue performing at a high level in the NFL.
To put it bluntly, Vince Young is a drama queen. And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of sick of drama queen quarterbacks. For one year at least, let’s have a quarterback who lets his performance do the talking.
Of course I recognize the obvious counter-argument: Vince Young may be inconsistent and a tad immature, but he’s better than anything we have now and, at least talent-wise, is better than anyone else out there on the market. And who knows, maybe Vince has finally learned his lesson. Maybe all he needs is a change of scenery. Maybe Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave and Craig Johnson can get more out of him than Tennessee did.
I might buy these arguments if Young were a second- or third-year player, but 2011 will be his sixth year in the league. We all know what Vince Young is by now. He’s a talented guy whose head wanders in and out, who gets hurt a lot, who clashes with coaches. Is that the sort of player a first-year head coach like Leslie Frazier wants leading his new offense coming off a disastrous season?
What the Vikings need in 2011 is stability, at the quarterback position more than anywhere else. And Vince Young to me is not a name that says “stability.” Vince Young is a name that says “catastrophe waiting to happen.”