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Wednesday (The perils of 'backup QB' syndrome) edition: Wha' Happened?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • August 28, 2013 - 10:32 AM

If the Vikings fail this season, there is a good chance it will be because of their quarterbacks. And if that happens, there will be a great amount of speculation about who will helm the team in 2014 -- with some suggesting the Vikings start over in the draft, some suggesting the tried and true veteran stopgap route (think about it: the Vikings' two best seasons in the past 20 years were led by the supposedly washed up Randall Cunningham and Brett Favre), and others yet suggesting something in the middle: acquiring a young and partially tested backup from another team.

Indeed, we have already heard clamoring from some that the Vikings should go after Kirk Cousins, who played well in a limited relief role for Washington last season while it dealt with RGIII's injury.

The first preference, obviously, is that Christian Ponder breaks through and becomes at least a middle-of-the-pack starting QB in the NFL. If not, though, we would have no problem with the Vikings starting over with a rookie in 2014 if that's what it takes. It wouldn't even be crazy to go after the right veteran if the team felt, as it did in 2009, it was a QB away from a serious title push.

But making a move for a backup who has starred in limited action? Stay as far away as possible.

For a good example, look at Matt Flynn. He signed a deal with $10 million guaranteed for Seattle after a couple of nice games in Green Bay, couldn't beat out Russell Wilson in Seattle and might suffer the same fate in Oakland to Terrelle Pryor. Matt Cassel got a $62 million contract in Kansas City after one good year in New England, and the Patriots also got a high second-round pick in the trade that sent him there. Now Cassel is 31 and waiting in line behind Ponder.

Once in a while, you might find a solid player going this route (Matt Schaub, acquired by Houston from Atlanta, has at least proven to be an upper-half QB), but overall: these guys are backups for a reason, even if they are sitting behind elite NFL QBs on the bench.

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