JaMarcus Russell to the Vikings?


JaMarcus Russell may be the classic example of the man with the million dollar arm and the five cent brain. Which is why the Oakland Raiders gave him his walking papers just three years after selecting him first overall in the draft.

Of course, if we’ve learned one thing about quarterbacks with great arms, it’s that no matter how big a turdbucket they may be, they will always get a second chance somewhere, from someone.

The question on everyone’s mind now is, which franchise will be brave enough to give JaMarcus his shot at redemption?

I’m sad to say that, according to a report from ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini, the Vikings are considered a front-runner to make that sucker move.

This is one vague report I would love to merely dismiss, but unfortunately, it makes too much sense on too many levels to simply be brushed aside as another off-season rumor.

It makes sense because, as we know, the Vikings have no obvious quarterback-of-the-future currently on the roster (despite the epic practice accomplishments of one Joe Webb). Russell, in spite of his reputation as a useless blob who only cares about cashing a paycheck, is still young, and has an arm like a cannon – attributes that may make him too attractive for a team like the Vikings to pass up.

But it makes sense even more because of what we know about Brad Childress and his preference in quarterbacks. He likes them mobile and he likes them raw, so he can mold them and shape them into the second coming of Donovan McNabb.

Tarvaris Jackson, as it turned out, was a poor example of such a prototype. To save his own skin, Childress was forced to set aside his Chillyball dream and hand the reins to Brett Favre.

Whatever happens in 2010, Childress will almost certainly not have Favre to bail him out in 2011. And he will almost certainly not be silly enough to think he can still make it work with T-Jack. And Sage Rosenfels…forget it.

But JaMarcus Russell, after a year on the bench behind Favre, with the Culture of Accountability keeping him on the straight-and-narrow, and Chilly’s great quarterback mind guiding him? Yes, I think Childress is enough of an egomaniac to think he can be the man to make it work with JaMarcus.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling The JaMarcus Russell Experiment would be nothing but a bigger, badder, more dysfunctional version of The Tarvaris Jackson Experiment, which failed as much because of Chilly’s futzy micromanaging as because of T-Jack’s own inherent shortcomings.

And now you want to plug a guy with Russell’s history of downright indifference into a Chilly-led system that’s all about discipline and control and attention to detail? And have mother hen Chilly there breathing down his neck every step of the way?

Even Gus Frerotte and Brad Johnson, after their time with Chilly, couldn’t help but vent their frustration at his control-freak approach. And those guys are pros. JaMarcus Russell… he is not a pro.

Sorry, but anyone who thinks Russell is the answer to the long-term quarterback need in Minnesota is smoking something.

Unfortunately, the Vikings have left themselves in such a perilous position that they probably have no choice but to at least bring Russell in and take a look. Hopefully, they will be clear-headed in their assessment of him, and not allow his talent to seduce them into making a mistake that sets the program back.