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Continued: Vikings should pass on whiny QB Cutler

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 2, 2009 - 1:58 PM

When was the last time a whining Daddy's Boy led his team to a Super Bowl victory? That's the question to ask before joining the mass of Vikings followers worked up over your favorite team's apparent reluctance to join in the pursuit of Jay Cutler, the sniveling, big-armed quarterback of the Denver Broncos.

The Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, have a high-profile father in Archie, but we know this in Minnesota: Archie was a warrior even as he competed here for the incompetent coach, Les Steckel, in 1984, and his sons play with that same resiliency.

Cutler is so attached to the old man, Jack, that after he was drafted by the Broncos in April 2006, the parents soon put a real estate agent to work looking for a home in the Denver area.

This allowed Daddy to show up regularly and stand on the sideline at practice. And in mid-March, when Cutler put his house on the market, the parents did the same with their abode.

That's all the information required to give full support to coach Brad Childress' suggestion the Vikings are satisfied to enter the 2009 training camp with Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson competing to be the starting quarterback.

Frankly, I would rather take my chances with Michael Vick, a rehabilitated dog fighter, than a brat so sensitive that he goes into a world-class pout when his new coach explores the possibility of bringing in a quarterback with whom the coach had previously worked.

It was on Feb. 28 that information surfaced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were trying to acquire Cutler for a first-round draft choice. The Broncos then were going to trade the pick to New England for Matt Cassel, the quarterback who led the Patriots last season after Tom Brady's knee injury.

Josh McDaniels was Cassel's offensive coordinator -- and now the 32-year-old replacement for Mike Shanahan in Denver.

"I'm upset," Cutler said of the rumor. "I mean, I'm really shocked at this point."

One day later, Carmelo Anthony -- the star of Denver's NBA team, and a topic of previous trade rumors -- said, "You got to learn that it is a business."

You got to learn that, unless you're driving down the street to the folks' house and saying, "The Broncos don't worship me as much as they did when Coach Mike was here. What am I going to do?"

Clearly, the counsel he received was to pout long and hard.

It took two weeks for Cutler to agree to a sit-down with McDaniels. The fact the new coach was willing to say, "You're my quarterback," wasn't enough for Mr. Softy. He wanted pleading repentance from the new coach for exploring the Cassel option.

It's not often that you find an NBA star with a more mature view of his place in the sports world than does an under-.500 NFL quarterback, but that was the case in Denver with Anthony and Cutler.

Finally, the Broncos tired of his petulance. On Tuesday, owner Pat Bowlen said Cutler had failed to respond to the Broncos' attempts to contact him for 10 days and the team now would consider trade offers.

This stirred up the Purple Faithful, as it did fans in a half-dozen cities. What is it that so intrigues football civilians about Cutler -- the 17-20 overall record, or last season's three-loss, season-ending collapse that blew a playoff spot and cost Shanahan his job?

Nah, that's not what you like. You like the big numbers, as well as the hard shell and mental strength required to win big games.

Oh, wait. Forget that last part.

In 2007, the Vikings finished the season at Denver, and that Sunday there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the second-year quarterbacks -- Cutler and Jackson.

Last season, Cutler threw 616 passes, oversaw a late collapse, was 8-8 and had an 86.0 quarterback rating. Jackson was benched for 10 games, led a December surge to the playoffs and finished with a 95.4 rating.

The last look at Tarvaris was a playoff clunker against Philadelphia, and that's why Childress and the Vikings have brought in another option in Rosenfels, athletic and 31, to compete with Jackson.

Stick to your guns, Chilly. You're better off with either of these adults -- Jackson or Rosenfels -- at quarterback than taking on the package deal of Juvenile Jay and his daddy.

Patrick Reusse can be heard 5:30-9 a.m. weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP. preusse@startribune.com

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