Vikings doing homework on top QBs

Posted March 20, 2011 @ 1:53 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The Vikings are going through the process of sorting through the top quarterbacks who will be available — or potentially available — this offseason. All signs point to the team adding a QB who could compete for a starting job, with Brett Favre retiring and Tarvaris Jackson likely to hit the free-agent market. On top of that, reports have surfaced that the current brass does not believe Joe Webb is ready to be a full-time starter.

The most recent visit was with Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, who is expected to be off the board when the Vikings select with the No. 12 pick in the draft. Head coach Leslie Frazier and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman were in Columbia, Mo., for Gabbert's pro day and took him out to dinner later that night to do more homework on the strong-armed passer.

The Vikings also have studied closely, sources say, other draft-eligible quarterbacks: namely Auburn's Cam Newton, Washington's Jake Locker, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, Florida State's Christian Ponder and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, among others.

One line of thinking is that the Vikings might not be in line to draft either Gabbert or Newton, figuring that they will be off the board by the 12th pick and the team might not be willing to sacrifice another pick to move up, given all their needs other than quarterback. That would likely lead to the Vikings seeking a QB to draft in Round Two (or lower) or pursue a trade for a veteran once normal NFL business is allowed to resume following the lockout.

Reports surfaced that the Vikings considered Broncos QB Kyle Orton, who might be available, but backed off from those plans prior to the lockout. The Eagles have allowed word of Kevin Kolb's availability to surface, just as they did with Donovan McNabb last season before he was traded, and sources have been telling PFW since January that they will listen very carefully to offers for Michael Vick's current backup.

Will the Vikings get involved with Kolb? They'll surely have stiff competition, if they choose that path, with several teams expected to make their best offers once trades are allowed again.