Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks


One question above all others has consumed Vikings fans’ minds this off-season:

Is Joe Webb for real?

Yeah, okay, and there’s the Favre thing.  But let’s talk about Joe Webb first.

He was drafted in the 6th round out of UAB (no periods, UAB guy who emailed me).  Some scratched their heads.  Others outright called Brad Childress and Rick Spielman idiots (to be fair, most of these people were just mad that the Vikes didn’t take Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy).

Then we learned what the plan was:  to move Joe Webb to receiver, making use of his great athletic abilities.  The head scratching turned to intrigued chin rubbing.  Maybe the Vikings were on to something.

It would not be long before the chin rubbing turned into head scratching again.  And some head shaking.

Because, after the Vikes got a look at Webb in OTAs, they decided to move him back to quarterback.

Enthusiastic declarations came out of the Vikings and some of the people who cover them.  Joe Webb has a great arm.  Joe Webb has really big hands.  Joe Webb could be the quarterback of the future.

Never mind that Joe Webb still hadn’t taken a snap that mattered in a professional game or even a professional training camp practice.

Since then, the enthusiasm for Joe Webb appears to have waned somewhat.  According to Brad Childress, Webb will not be practicing with the first team in camp.  Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson will get all the first team reps, while Brett Favre sips iced tea and sends taunting text messages to Ed Werder.

(Example of a taunting text message from Brett Favre to Ed Werder:  “What if I give the scoop to Rachel Nichols instead?  You know I’ve always had a thing for fake redheads.”)

Still, despite his afterthought camp status, there is a chance Webb could wind up the #3 quarterback.  The Vikings could elect to trade or cut the guy who loses the T-Jack/Sage camp battle, automatically elevating Webb to third on the depth chart (unless Chilly has designs on rescuing Brooks Bollinger from the UFL).

That whole “Joe Webb is the quarterback of the future” storyline has juice left in it yet.  But will it still, once camp has broken?

And now, back to Brett Favre…

Golf has the silly season, and the NFL has the Favre rumor season.  The newest one, via Patrick Reusse, says Deanna has renewed her membership at her Minneapolis Lifetime Fitness of choice.  Obviously, Deanna would not do this if she was planning on spending the next six months in Hattiesburg.

So, we’re assuming that Brett will be along once preseason starts.  The big camp question is, who will be Brett’s back-up?

Tarvaris Jackson seems to have the inside track, given his experience in the offense, and the affection Brad Childress harbors for him.  But don’t underestimate the wily Sage Rosenfels.  Rick Spielman doesn’t have a hard-on for this guy for nothing.

My only prediction is, this QB battle will go beyond camp and into the preseason.  It may even go down to the final preseason game.

Actually, there may end up being no battle at all.  The plan could be to keep both Sage and T-Jack, as double-insurance against Favre’s body finally giving out.

In the last analysis, there’s only one thing I’m sure of regarding the Vikings’ quarterback situation:  that Brett Favre will be the starter.

Everything else is up in the air.

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