Joe Webb is Returning Punts at OTAs


Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb (14) runs onto the field prior to the first quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

What will be Joe Webb’s ultimate role with the Vikings? Can he truly catch on as a wide receiver? Or is he destined to be pushed out once training camp starts and the real battling begins?

These are questions we can’t yet answer. But here’s one thing we do know: the Vikings are serious about finding a spot for Joe Webb. They are willing to try him in any and every role imaginable. This week in OTAs, the Vikes are even giving Webb a look as a punt returner.

How seriously should we take this development? Well that’s hard to say. Though the Vikings gave Webb reps as a punt return man on Wednesday, Leslie Frazier told the press that the team is not “currently” looking at Webb in that role. They are thinking of Webb as a kickoff return man and receiver. Right now.

This sounds to me like classic Vikings double-speak. They’re not “currently” looking at Webb as a punt returner. Even though they are giving Webb reps as a punt returner. Reading between the lines, it sounds to me like Marcus Sherels is in some danger. It sounds like Joe Webb might be coming to take his job.

It actually makes sense. Sherels’ main value is as a punt returner, not so much a corner. Finding a new punt return man would allow you to dump Sherels and more easily keep a guy like Jacob Lacey (who himself is currently sidelined after suffering a dislocated thumb) or Brandon Burton. Keeping Webb as a fifth receiver and punt return guy, with Cordarrelle Patterson as your kick return guy probably, makes more sense than retaining Sherels and having to dump another guy who has more value as a fifth corner.

This all of course depends on how Webb performs as a punt returner. If Mike Priefer likes what he sees, Webb could be in the mix once camp starts. And Marcus Sherels might be looking for work.

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