Joel Stave jumps from the Badgers to the Vikings

Joel Stave was once the starting quarterback of the Wisconsin Badgers, and now he’ll have a chance to become Teddy Bridgewater’s backup.

Minnesota sports fans used to hate Joel Stave but now they have a reason to like him. Saturday night after the final round of the draft, the Vikings reportedly signed the former Wisconsin Badgers quarterback as an undrafted free agent.

Gophers fans don’t need to be reminded that Stave went 4-0 against their team as a member of the Badgers.

Stave was never a stat-monster at Wisconsin, but he somehow always managed to make a play when the team needed him to make a play, especially if the Gophers were on the other side of the ball.

The 6-5, 220-pound Stave was once thought of as a mere game-manager whose job was to hand the ball off to whatever dominating Wisconsin running back happened to be lined up on that play, but as his career went on he actually became a pretty competent passer.

At one point Stave did develop such a bad case of the yips that he had to be benched, but he eventually overcame the mental block and returned to the field to lead the Badgers to two straight wins in bowl games.

Stave’s legitimate if somewhat slow development as a passing threat, coupled with his height and arm strength, impressed scouts enough that some people had him going as high as the third round. That third-round talk proved to be as crazy as most folks thought it was and Stave eventually fell entirely out of the draft.

Put aside the dumb semi-hype about Stave before the draft, and whatever anti-Badgers bias you might possess, and this is what you see: A quarterback with really great physical tools who is possibly too lacking on the mental side to ever be an NFL player but nonetheless is well-worth taking a look at in camp.

I guarantee Norv Turner looked at Stave’s pretty throws and thought to himself that he could work with the kid. Stave enters Vikings camp with a chance to win a spot on the practice squad at least.