As we scrape the plate for NFL news in these days of a lockout and still prep for the draft, there was an interesting interview this past week on NFL Network. While their crew was discussing the Vikings over their “State of the Franchise” segment tight end Visanthe Shiancoe called in. Shiancoe was charming, witty and let his feelings be known that at least one veteran on the team prefers a veteran signal caller to a rookie. When asked on the position, Shiancoe said…
“The quarterback, that’s a dilemma right there. Being as the CBA is kind of cutting up this offseason up a little bit — and that’s where camaraderie is built — especially rookies that’s where you learn the system, this is a whole new world for them. So that changes my whole approach on drafting a QB high. I would say we draft someone that could be a backup and that can learn. Right now we have to go with veteran, someone that could adjust on the run. We might not even be practicing until August together! That throws a monkey wrench in there.”
When asked on new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and getting access to his playbook (as most fans know, players are not allowed contact with coaches during the lockout), Shiancoe said…
“That’s also a dilemma. With a new coach and a new offensive coordinator they learn talent and learn the team and the players. Where can you use this guy? What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses? How can I plug this guy in here and there? Everybody is learning in the offseason. We just have to make up on it in camp… I think it’ll be alright, especially with the vets. I think the rookies are really going to hurt because it’s a brand new world for them. And even learning the tempo… small things like that may even hurt the veterans as well. They’re going to be going at tempo and speed that is unnecessary off the jump.”
Shiancoe later went on to speak highly of Leslie Frazier’s decision to bring in experienced coaches and keeping veteran guys on the team. But back to the quarterback position Shiancoe’s candor is most interesting. While players do not have a say in personnel decisions, veterans like Shiancoe certainly have vocal presence in the locker room. This is the same team where veteran Ray Edwards called out then rookie Chris Cook on the sidelines last year after Packers receiver Greg Jennings scorched Cook. Anyone care to debate how quarterback is not the most important position in all of football? Anyone dare to predict what a PR nightmare it would be if we had another blowup only this time between a rookie QB and a veteran skill player?
I’m certain that both Frazier and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman are aware of this interview, but it’s anyones guess is to if it will sway their decision making or simply be taken with a grain of salt. But the draft is still three weekends away and we’ll have another mock up again soon. Just don’t plan on a quarterback at 12.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig