Live Chat excerpts: Why not Webb?

  • December 5, 2012 - 7:13 AM

Dan Wiederer conducts a Live Chat on the Vikings every Tuesday at noon. Here are edited excerpts from this week's session:

Q Why did Leslie Frazier not replace Christian Ponder in the second half of the Packers game?

A When Ponder threw his second [interception], it was clear he was not regrouping. But ... the Vikings didn't get the ball back after that until 4 minutes remained. They gave up an 18-play, 73-yard field goal drive that took 11 minutes. They were down 23-14. At that point, I'm not sure turning to Joe Webb gets it done. In a one-score game, I go to him. In a two-score game? I hesitate. But bottom line is Ponder's errors cost the Vikings a chance to steal a very winnable road game.

Q Why does Ponder get so many chances, yet the Vikings don't see what they have in Webb?

A I, too, wonder whether it's fair to Webb to pigeonhole him as a No. 2 guy. I watched him at training camp and in limited sessions of practice and his accuracy is a major, major concern.

I also don't think he has quite the same level of offensive absorption that Ponder has. But when the lights come on, Webb seems to have that pop to him. The performances in Detroit and Washington last season were notable.

Webb has things that never will show up in practice with his improvising and athleticism and ability to make big plays. I do not think he's the long-term answer at QB. But I do agree with the premise that it's hard to say that definitively while also saying "wait-and-see" with Ponder.

Q Should Minnesota pursue Tim Tebow this offseason? His passing is not great, but he was successful in a run-first offense.

A Tebow is not a viable long-term NFL quarterback. For any team. For any philosophy.

Q What about McLeod Bethel-Thompson? Why not take a shot with him? What do the Vikings have to lose?

A Nowhere near ready to play in an NFL football game. But the Vikings kept him over Sage Rosenfels because they were intrigued. So they will do their best to mold him and see if he's a diamond-in-the-rough kind of guy. But I can tell you, right now, at present, he's not ready to play in a game.

Q Adrian Peterson is having an outstanding year against defenses that do not have to be the least bit concerned about the passing game. What would AP be doing if the defenses had to worry about covering receivers?

A Peterson has 947 rushing yards in the past six games. That's 158 yards per game and 7.8 per carry. All with defenses keyed on stopping him. If the Vikings had a passing attack? Who knows? Adrian might run for 2,800 yards. As it stands, he enters the final four weeks with a chance to push 2,000 yards.

Q Why aren't the Vikings calling the same short pass plays that they were winning with in the first five games?

A One big reason: Percy Harvin is out. He's the guy that was turning short passes into big gains. He's the guy that was giving the passing attack its life. Right now, they're lacking any sort of weaponry.

Q Any chance the Vikings bring in a couple free agent wide receivers this week?

A No. Any free agent receiver that is on the market in Week 14 is a guy that probably isn't worth having. But understand this, the Vikings better find a way to upgrade that position in a major, major way over the offseason.

Q Do you have a feeling on the Bears getting payback towards Jared Allen this week after he injured one of the offensive linemen?

A I don't think the Bears will be going after Jared. They have bigger fish to fry at this point, mainly that a 7-1 start could quickly turn into a 9-7 out-of-the-playoffs record if they're not careful. I don't expect any foul play.

Q If you were given control of this club, what would be your off-season plans for the QB, DBs and WRs?

A I'd go wide receiver crazy in the draft. Get some options there with an eye on overhauling that position group entirely. I'd look at middle-tier wide receiver free agents, too. Donnie Avery is the type of guy who could make sense.

Q In the rotation at right guard, it seems Geoff Schwartz is better than Brandon Fusco. Yet Fusco continues to get more playing time.

A Schwartz, let the record reflect, has been OK. But he's not exactly killing it at right guard.

Talked to offensive line coach Jeff Davidson last week, and he noted the ongoing request for Schwartz to play faster. Sometimes, they feel, they're not getting that out of him.

Fusco is a mauler in the run game at his best and has struggled with pass protection. But I don't believe that battle has a clear-cut winner by any stretch of the imagination.

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