The pieces are not in place in Minnesota, at least not when it comes to the quarterback position (and one more piece dropped out of the picture when Matt Cassel’s contract voided on Friday). But never fear, says new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The Vikings know exactly what they have to do.
They have to bring in a young quarterback.
“I think everybody is in agreement: We’re trying to add a young quarterback to the organization. So, you just gotta make sure it’s a good one wherever you get him,” Turner said during his introductory press conference on Thursday.
Turner mentioned that the team will be looking for a guy with a specific skill set. Norv’s offenses in the past have emphasized the vertical passing game, so one assumes the QB search will focus on prospects with strong arms and good deep ball accuracy, with less concern about mobility outside the pocket.
Of all the top QB prospects in this year’s draft, Derek Carr and Blake Bortles probably come closest to fitting the rough picture of the “Norv Turner QB.” Johnny Manziel would seem less suited to that style of offense.
Turner did indicate however that we should not necessarily focus on the top of the draft. “Quarterbacks come from a lot of different spots,” he said. “A third-rounder wins the Super Bowl and there’s some pretty good players who weren’t drafted high.”
Looking farther down the draft board for a Russell Wilson or Tom Brady seems like a risky gamble for a team as QB-desperate as the Vikings. There’s also the free agent or trade route, which brings names like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Mallett into the discussion.
And then there’s the Wild Card in this whole discussion: Christian Ponder. Norv said to Dan Barreiro on KFAN Thursday afternoon that he’s looked at Ponder and thinks Ponder “does some good things.”
Does this mean Ponder is legitimately in the mix at QB for Minnesota? He doesn’t exactly fit the bill as a vertical quarterback. My assumption is that the Vikings will move on from Ponder as soon as they can.
They don’t just need to get younger at QB, they need to get better, and that means ending the Ponder era once and for all.