Hartman: Webb shifts from QB to full-time receiver for Vikings

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2013 - 1:00 AM

The move from quarterback to receiver was due to drafting Cordarrelle Patterson and signing Matt Cassel.

Those who thought Joe Webb had no future as a quarterback should be happy, because the former Alabama-Birmingham standout has become a full-time wide receiver for the Vikings.

Coach Leslie Frazier said the decision to shift Webb to receiver was made after the draft, when the team selected receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round and also because the Vikings had signed free agent quarterback Matt Cassel.

“We had been talking about it for a while, and we made the decision that this was the way to go after we had our draft,” Frazier said.

Webb said he was told of the decision on the first day of the teams workouts.

“When I came back … Coach brought me in the office and talked to me about the different plans they had and stuff.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Webb has done a good job catching the ball, and there’s a belief that because of his speed the coaches figure they can use Webb as a member of special teams and in other ways on offense.

Webb was asked how different will it be moving from quarterback to wide receiver.

“It’s going to be very interesting,” he said. “I haven’t played it since my rookie minicamp, but I think I can adjust to it pretty good. You just have to put in a lot of work. Coach Stew [wide receivers coach George Stewart] will do a lot of that with me, so we’ll see what happens.”

Position not new

Playing receiver is nothing new for Webb, because he played his entire sophomore season in college at the position.

“I was kind of doing both quarterback and receiver, but I was doing more receiver,” he said. “I did that the whole year, and I got some plays here and there for my junior and senior year, but basically my sophomore year.”

But Webb did say that it is going to be a big change.

“You have a whole different world at quarterback, but I think that’s going to help me out there at receiver, having been at quarterback and knowing the coverage and how DBs run their plays,” he said.

“I think that’s going to be a big advantage for me. I always relate things that I see on the field to quarterbacks — to Christian [Ponder], to Matt Cassel, to [McLeod] Bethel-Thompson, I can tell those guys what I see out there. That will help them out a lot, my quarterback experience.

“Also, it will help the receivers out — for instance if they see a safety rotating down, different coverages that teams prepare and things like that. I think it’s going to be a big help.”

Webb’s speed — he ran a 40 yard-dash in the low 4.4s coming out of college — has proved to be a big advantage when he scrambled as a quarterback and should be an advantage as a receiver.

Webb said he is comfortable at his new position.

“I’m doing good,” he said. “I’m doing real good. I still have a long ways to go, but I’m getting better every day and that’s all you can do.

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