Sid Hartman: Vikings know Webb will be a factor

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2011 - 9:37 AM

The team will look either through the draft or free agency for a QB, but Joe Webb showed some ability under center.

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Rookie quarterback Joe Webb went 1-1 as a starter for the Vikings at the end of the 2010 season.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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While it is certain that Brett Favre won't be back next season and it's unclear whether Tarvaris Jackson will return to the Vikings, new coach Leslie Frazier said the team is going to take a good look at Joe Webb and believes the 2010 sixth-round pick has a bright future.

"You know, the fact that Joe has only had a short window to get some work in, it's a little bit tougher to gauge," Frazier said. "We've got about 2 1/2 games of actual game film to look at and determine, and even in practice, because when Joe was with us in practice, everything was just off the scout team getting ready for the next opponent."

If nothing else, Webb certainly opened some eyes by helping the Vikings win the Week 16 snow-delayed game at Philadelphia, when he threw for 195 yards and ran for 31 more in a 24-14 victory over the NFC East champions on Dec. 28 in his first start at quarterback.

Frazier said he realizes Webb doesn't have the résumé that other young quarterbacks such as Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman were able to develop over the course of a rookie year. But Frazier said Webb, originally ticketed to be a wide receiver after the Vikings drafted him out of Alabama-Birmingham, showed the Vikings that he has some ability to play under center in the NFL.

"Is that enough to put us in the hunt next season?" Frazier said. "That's what we've got to determine."

Of course, there is a lot of speculation that the Vikings will draft a quarterback in April.

"There's a very good chance of [drafting a QB]," Frazier said. "That's the No. 1 position that we're really honing in on, and it's a matter of whether we're going to draft one or whether we try to sign a potential free-agent quarterback. But we're trying to determine that right now."

Frazier, who attended the Senior Bowl with other coaches, said there were some gifted players in the Jan. 29 game in Mobile, Ala.

"There were some good players down there, again this year, probably as good as I've seen in the years that I've gone down there, at all positions, whether it be running back or quarterback or wide receiver, there was a lot of talent," Frazier said. "So what we've got to do now as a staff, and what we've been doing since we got back from the Senior Bowl, is going back and looking at tape from those college players so that we can become familiar with them before we go to the combine. That was really our coaching staff's first chance to watch the college seniors. Our scouts were very familiar with them, but our coaches weren't, so now we get a chance to watch some tape and learn a little bit more about them."

Twins big on sales

According to Twins President Dave St. Peter, the team already has sold 2.4 million tickets for the second season at Target Field and figures to draw 3 million-plus fans again at the downtown ballpark. Single-game tickets go on sale for the first time March 19.

One of the big events the Twins have planned for the 2011 season at Target Field is the 20th anniversary of the team's 1991 World Series victory, with a reunion weekend to be held Aug. 5-7 when the rival White Sox are in town.

Meanwhile, Twins officials continue discussions with Lee County (Fla.) commissioners about prospective upgrades for the team's spring training complex in Fort Myers. The Twins have trained in Fort Myers since 1991.

With 158 telecasts scheduled for either FSN or FOX9, only four of the Twins' 162 regular-season games are set to go untelevised this season.

Jottings

• The word on a proposed site in Ramsey County for a Vikings stadium is that once a soil test is taken on the land, it will show that the cost of building a stadium on the vacated Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills will be much more than building at the Metrodome. The fact that the infrastructure is set at the Metrodome site and not at the Ramsey County site is an additional issue, as is the fact that the light rail goes right to the Metrodome, a big boost to keeping the Vikings at their current location. So don't get too excited about any other site besides the Metrodome for any new Vikings stadium.

• Maybe one of the best academic advisers the Gophers ever had was Francine St. Clair, who served here from 2002 to '04. For some unknown reason, she had a problem with her boss and was let go, and her departure left all the Gophers coaches she worked with very upset with the school administration. St. Clair got a job at Northern Illinois, where she worked with Jerry Kill and the football coaching staff. Under Kill and St. Clair, Northern Illinois was in the top 10 in the country in Academic Progress Rate profile. The players loved her here and there. So one thing Kill would like to do is bring St. Clair back. It would be a great move, with several Gophers football players in academic trouble.

• John Butler, who did a great job coaching Gophers linebackers under Tim Brewster, has been hired as a defensive assistant with the Houston Texans, where he will work closely with special teams.

• Seth Rosin, the Gophers pitcher who was drafted in the fourth round in last year's draft by the San Francisco Giants, is rated 16th among the top 50 prospects for last year's World Series champions. Last year, he pitched for Salem-Keizer of the short-season Class A Northwest League, going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in six games, including one start.

• No Gophers football players were invited to NFL combine in Indianapolis, not even quarterback Adam Weber.

• Even though Southern California, the opening opponent for Gophers football this fall, was supposed lose 30 scholarships over three years under NCAA sanctions, because the Trojans are appealing, any penalty might not be applied until after the appeal is heard. USC coach Lane Kiffin has a full class of recruits and it's ranked in the top five for the second year in a row, meaning that the Trojans figure to be a very tough opening opponent.

• Ben Woodside, the former North Dakota State star and Albert Lea graduate, is having a fantastic season for Gravelines in France, and he is playing especially well in the EuroChallenge. Through nine games, he is averaging 17.3 points, 5.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 32.2 minutes per game. He is eighth in both scoring and in assists in EuroChallenge.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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