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Vikings quarterback Joe Webb in a situational full contact practice Saturday night in Mankato.

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Webb's a QB, despite appearances

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • August 9, 2011 - 12:44 AM

MANKATO -- Joe Webb made his training camp debut at receiver, but it lasted only one snap during a drill in which the offense was running plays against no defenders.

Webb lined up wide right and ran a go route, but he couldn't come down with a pass from Donovan McNabb.

Fans cheered nonetheless and would no doubt love to see more of Webb at receiver. That's not going to happen any time soon, coach Leslie Frazier insisted after practice.

"No, we really want to see Joe as a quarterback," Frazier said. "He's a tremendous athlete, and he can do some other things, but to be fair to Joe and our team, we need to let him concentrate on quarterback, not having it in the back of his mind, 'Am I going to be moved to receiver?'

"Who knows? He may end up being our No. 2 quarterback, and now you're one injury away from that guy being in the game. So we want to have the best guy in the No. 2 spot. If it's Joe, it's Joe. If it's Christian [Ponder], it's Christian."

The irony is that by winning the No. 2 job, Webb would lose out on playing time once the regular season begins. Under the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the No. 3 quarterback can play without teams having to forfeit the use of their first two quarterbacks.

"The fact that we can dress 46 now, we don't have that third quarterback sitting," Frazier said last week. "There's a very good chance we'll find a role for him. He's a tremendous athlete."

The competition between Webb and Ponder is even at this point. Webb spent the first three days of training camp with the first team because McNabb couldn't practice per rules of the CBA. When McNabb returned last Thursday, Ponder spent two days with the second unit ahead of Webb. Webb then rotated back ahead of Ponder the next two days, including Monday.

Ponder looked good early in training camp, but his performance has leveled off. Frazier summed that up to Ponder being a typical rookie NFL quarterback. The atypical offseason and its 4 1/2-month lockout also is having its effect on Ponder.

Webb essentially said he's in a win-win situation thanks to the new rule allowing No. 3 quarterbacks to play in games in non-emergency situations.

"It's a great deal that we'll have to wait and see how it works out," Webb said. "As the No. 3 guy last year, it was no fun just standing there. You want to play. But right now I'm just focused on playing quarterback and winning that [No. 2] job."

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