Aug 29, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner (2) watches the clock tick away against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
This past week the Vikings hosted a number of prospects at Winter Park, including a bunch of quarterbacks. Besides Teddy Bridgewater, who got all the attention for obvious reasons, the Vikings also looked at Pitt’s Tom Savage, North Carolina’s Bryn Renner and Ball State’s Keith Wenning.
In recent weeks, the Vikings have also scouted Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, David Fales, Zach Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo, Connor Shaw and probably some others that haven’t been reported.
After all that, it would be a huge upset if the Vikings did not draft a quarterback in either the first or second round.
But why stop there? With 8 picks in the upcoming draft, the Vikings can afford to double-dip at the quarterback position if they want.
It makes all the sense in the world. Rick Spielman has shown that he has no problem carrying a developmental QB on the roster. McLeod Bethel-Thompson anyone? If nothing else, that third QB could represent future trade value.
A guy like MBT also has a weird sort of value as a sideshow attraction during the preaseason. Admit it, there were games the last couple years that you would have turned off in the second half, but you wanted to see what MBT would do so you kept the TV on a little while longer.
So which of these QB prospects could turn into the next MBT?
The one guy who really looks the part is Tom Savage. MBT was known for his huge arm, and Savage is the one player in this year’s field who has that kind of raw throwing power.
But Savage in recent weeks has impressed so many scouts that he is reportedly now on the cusp of being a legitimate first round possibility. Even if he settles into the second or third round, that’s too high for a developmental QB.
If the Vikings do go QB late, it will likely be a player like Bryn Renner, who like Savage has a good arm, but unlike Savage is not shooting up draft boards.
Renner was actually on his way to becoming a legit QB prospect at UNC before a shoulder injury ended his 2013 season. Like Zach Mettenberger, Renner has been working his way back. Unlike Mettenberger, Renner has garnered very little attention and will likely have to settle for a spot as a third QB somewhere.
Ball State QB Keith Wenning is another intriguing late round prospect, but for a different reason. He’s not a big-armed player nor is he an injured player trying to restore his stock. He’s just a guy with decent talent who showed steady improvement in college and, if he continues on that modest upward developmental curve, could figure as a solid backup in the right system.
One thing Savage, Wenning and Renner all have in common? Size. They all look like the prototypical “Norv Turner” QB as we understand that concept. At least in terms of stature.
Clearly, Norv has a very specific type in mind. He likes taller guys who can get the ball downfield. Of all the potential early round QBs, Zach Mettenberger would seem to fit this mold most precisely.
Tom Savage, if he indeed is a borderline first round prospect at this point, can’t be ruled out in the second round if the Vikings go defense in the first.
Whatever the Vikings end up doing quarterback-wise in the first or second or third round, I expect we’ll see them take another QB late or as an undrafted free agent.
And I guarantee, whoever this late-round/UDFA QB turns out to be, there will be fans screaming to get a look at him by week 4.