Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder May Be In Play for the Vikings

Leslie Frazier has made clear his desire to draft a quarterback this year, perhaps in the first round, perhaps with an eye toward making that draft pick the immediate starter.

Rick Spielman has stepped in and declared that the Vikings won’t force it when it comes to drafting a quarterback. Instead, Spielman says, the Vikings will pick the best player available when their turn comes up at #12 in the first round.

In actuality the Vikings will probably do what most teams do: try to find a happy medium between value and need.

Right now, it appears you can cross Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert off the list of potential picks for the Vikings, as both are expected to be gone before #12. But there are some other QBs who may make sense for the team in that spot. The name Jake Locker has been mentioned, by our very own Jon Merckle in his team mock. On their Vikings team mock, our Fansided sister site NFL Mocks stumped for Ryan Mallett.

Beyond the guys mentioned above, it’s hard to find another QB who is a consensus high first rounder. There are however a couple guys who may be value picks for the Vikings in the late first or early second round. Another Fansided site, With the 1st Pick, today quoted draft wonk Mike Mayock talking about two of these potential QB draftees. And both happen to be guys the Vikings are believed to be interested in.

The first is Andy Dalton of TCU. “I have been really impressed with Andy Dalton ever since I saw him throw the ball last summer at the Manning passing academy,” Mayock said. “I believe he goes in the first half of the second round. And there are a number of teams with QB needs between 1 and 16. He’s a West Coast QB with a good arm. Very good accuracy. And deceptive athletic skills. He reminds me a lot of Kevin Kolb when he came out of Houston.”

As it happens, the Vikings were reported a couple weeks ago to have a visit scheduled with Dalton. And Todd McShay of ESPN, in one of his many mocks, had the Vikings selecting Dalton in the second round.

The other guy the Vikings could look at in the second round is Florida State’s Christian Ponder. Mayock said of Ponder:

I [Ponder] stacked in a very similar position to Andy Dalton of TCU. From a talent perspective, I think they both should go in the first half of the second-round. There are so many teams with QB needs that it wouldn’t surprise me if a team with a Top 12 type of pick didn’t trade back into the first round to pick up a Dalton or a Ponder.

Mayock almost seems to be deliberately mentioning the Vikings with his reference to a “team with a top 12 type of pick.” Many have already mentioned the Vikings as prime candidates to trade back in the first round, and if they do elect to play it this way, it seems likely that their target would be a quarterback like Ponder or Dalton.

Like Dalton, Ponder is believed to be on the Vikings’ radar. The Vikings met with Ponder during the combine, and the quarterback had positive things to say about his talk with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

When you add all this speculation up, there’s one conclusion you come to: the Vikings are almost 100% certain to take a quarterback on draft day. It’s not yet possible to state with 100% certainty that the Vikings will spend a first- or second-round pick on a quarterback however, despite Leslie Frazier’s assurances in this direction. The possibility remains that Frazier and Spielman could be playing games with the media in hopes of obscuring their true intentions.

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Topics: Andy Dalton, Bill Musgrave, Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings, Ryan Mallett

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