The Vikings brass is back on the road this week looking at quarterbacks in anticipation of next month's draft.
Team officials, including coach Leslie Frazier, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson, were in Tallahassee, Fla., on Tuesday to watch Florida State's Christian Ponder work out. Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman also was believed to be in attendance.
That group will then head to Auburn, Ala., on Wednesday to watch Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton in a private workout. The Vikings, who have the 12th pick in the first round, also reportedly worked out Washington's Jake Locker and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi in the middle of the month. Locker will go through his Pro Day on Wednesday at Washington.
Ponder battled arm injuries last season but reportedly looked sharp in his Pro Day performance earlier this month.
"I think [NFL teams] just really wanted to see how the ball was coming out, and especially on the deep balls," Ponder told the Orlando Sentinel at the time. "And that's what they specifically asked to see before I ever threw a ball -- they wanted to see if we were going to throw some deep balls. And I thought I threw them pretty well."
Frazier said last week at the NFL owners meetings in New Orleans that he would like to be able to select a quarterback in the April 28-30 draft. The Vikings have nine picks in the seven-round draft --none in the third round -- but Frazier realizes that getting a starting quarterback would mean taking one early.
"I can't imagine a scenario where we wouldn't add a quarterback [in the draft] at some point," Frazier said. "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. It's an aberration to get a Tom Brady in the sixth round."
Frazier did mention the potential of having to trade up to get a quarterback, which could mean the Vikings want to make a run at Missouri's Blaine Gabbert or Newton. Both are expected to be long gone by the time the Vikings' current selection in the first round comes up. Spielman has made it clear that the Vikings will get a good look at every top quarterback in this draft.
Vikings officials had dinner with Gabbert in Columbia, Mo., on March 17 after his Pro Day. Meetings, but not necessarily workouts, also have been arranged for Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and TCU's Andy Dalton. The Vikings are not believed to have any workout or meeting set up with Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but they saw him at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine.