Vikings still look for their guy at QB

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2011 - 11:29 PM

Club officials are talking through several scenarios about obtaining a QB via draft, trade or free agency as the lockout lingers.

NEW ORLEANS - The NFL lockout halted the Vikings' ability to land a quarterback through free agency or trade, but coach Leslie Frazier would prefer to get one through the NFL draft anyway.

"Even if there were free agency, we might still look at quarterbacks [in the draft], unless there was a free-agent quarterback that had youth and you knew you were going to have him for a number of years," Frazier said Tuesday, the final day of the NFL owners meetings. "With a veteran guy, we'd still look at drafting a guy, because we need to build around a young guy who is likely to [stick around]."

Which draft-eligible quarterback do the Vikings covet? The team holds the 12th pick in next month's draft and is checking out Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Auburn's Cam Newton, Washington's Jake Locker, TCU's Andy Dalton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, among others. Frazier will be back on the road Monday for pro days and private workouts.

Although Gabbert and Newton are expected to be long gone by the time the 12th pick arrives, Frazier mentioned on more than one occasion the possibility exists the Vikings could attempt to move up.

"The one thing you don't know is if the one guy you like is going to be there at 12 or if you're going to have to try to move up to try to get him. Or, what would you have to give up to get him?" Frazier said.

The NFL will allow teams to trade draft picks, but without a third-round pick, it might be difficult for the Vikings to trade up higher than 12.

"I can't imagine a scenario where we wouldn't add a quarterback [in the draft] at some point," Frazier said, but added getting a long-term starter past the second round isn't a good idea.

"If you're going to get a franchise-type guy that you can build around, he usually comes earlier than later -- the first or second round," Frazier said. "It's an aberration to get a Tom Brady in the sixth round."

Frazier did not dismiss an eventual trade once the lockout ends. The Eagles have made it known that 26-year-old Kevin Kolb, who opened last season as Philadelphia's starter after they traded Donovan McNabb, is on the market. Kolb's early season concussion enabled Michael Vick to take over, and he kept the job.

"He's a good young quarterback," Frazier said of Kolb. "You'd have to consider a guy like Kevin if he becomes available. He'll be part of the conversation as well if that were to occur. Right now, there is no free agency, there are no trade talks, but we're going to talk internally about a bunch of different scenarios and just talk about players throughout our league."

Veteran quarterbacks who might be available include Matt Hasselbeck, a starter in Seattle since 2001 who will be a free agent, and Carson Palmer, who has demanded a trade from Cincinnati. Frazier said a veteran near the end of his career would have to understand his role and that he'd likely be helping develop a young quarterback.

"Otherwise it really splits your team and stunts the growth of that young quarterback," Frazier said.

As for Joe Webb, the Vikings' sixth-round pick last April, Frazier said the rookie quarterback "did some good things," in two late-season starts after Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson were injured. However, the Vikings' initial plan was to move Webb to wide receiver, and it's pretty clear Frazier and Co. want to end the revolving door of quarterbacks that occurred under former coach Brad Childress.

"Ideally, [the goal] would be to get a young guy that [we] could say, 'OK, we're going to ride with this guy. He's our [Joe] Flacco, he's our [Mark] Sanchez, he's our Matt Ryan,'" Frazier said. "He would step in as our starter. That would be the ideal situation. You know you're going to go through your lumps early on, but in the long term, you just know you've got the right guy. That's he's just going to get better and better and better and we build around him.

"There's no question that would be the way to go and it's probably been a while since that's happened in Minnesota. You'd love to have that in your organization. Chicago has that now with [Jay] Cutler, Green Bay has that now with [Aaron] Rodgers, Detroit has that now with [Matthew] Stafford. We want to join that club. We want people to say, 'Minnesota has their guy.'"

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