The QB Collection began a week ago with 5 names of potential starting QBs for the Vikings in 2011 (and hopefully beyond) and has since grown to a list of 16 names. The latest update added 5 and the complete list can be seen below.
For those of you who are visiting the QB Collection for the first time, here’s a brief explanation of what we’re doing here. There are many names that will be mentioned in connection with the Vikings QB position this offseason, from draft-eligible players to potential free agents or trade acquisitions. In order to keep up with the speculation and stay up-to-date on the names, we’ve created The QB Collection, a page on vikings.com that contains a running list of names tied to the Vikings by NFL observers in the media and by fans who correspond with vikings.com.
The QBs will be listed in alphabetical order and this list will continue to grow as the NFL draft draws closer.
Do you have a name you’d like to add? Or do you have a comment/question about a name already on the list? If so, let us hear it by either posting your thoughts in the comments section below a vikings.com Blog entry or by sending in an email to Mike Wobschall (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Andy Dalton: A senior entering the 2011 NFL Draft out of TCU, Dalton is considered a mid-round prospect after a successful college career. He won more games than any other QB in TCU’s history and he led the Horned Frogs to a perfect 13-0 record during the 2010-11 season. Dalton led TCU to a pair of Mountain West Conference championships during his tenure and was 25-1 during his junior and senior seasons. He completed 194 of 293 passes for 2,638 yards and 26 TDs during his senior season.
Matt Flynn: “To the victor go the spoils” is an age-old adage that might apply to Flynn, as he could try to parlay his Super Bowl-winning experience behind Aaron Rodgers into a free agent contract on the open market. Flynn, a 3-year veteran who stands at 6-2, 225 pounds, jumped onto many people’s radar following his performance in place of an injured Rodgers against the New England Patriots this past season. In that game the former LSU QB went 24 of 37 for 251 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT, nearly leading Green Bay to victory over New England. Flynn could always return to Green Bay as Rodgers’ backup. If he doesn’t, though, NFL teams will have to decide if Flynn has what it takes to make it as a starter in the NFL. Was his performance against the Patriots a sign of what he could do as a starter? Or was it more of an anomaly?
Blaine Gabbert: At 6-5, 240 pounds, Gabbert has prototypical size for an NFL QB. An underclassman, Gabbert leaves the University of Missouri after 2 full seasons as the starter, compiling a 40-18 TD/INT ratio along the way and also completing 63.4% of his passes last season. NFL Network draft analyst and Vikings preseason game analyst Mike Mayock says Gabbert can make all the throws an NFL QB should be able to make, but also says he wants to see better footwork out of Gabbert at the Combine and Missouri’s pro day. Gabbert is considered a high 1st-round prospect.
Colin Kaepernick: Teams looking for a QB that A) spent 4 seasons in college, B) won a lot of games and C) possess a combination of pocket-passing presence and mobility will have to take a serious look at Kaepernick. He played for the University of Nevada, a program that has operated in the shadow of Boise State, but that shouldn’t dilute any of his accomplishments. Kaepernick is the first player in NCAA history to record 3 straight 2,000-yard passing/1,000-yard rushing seasons and he did it while elevating the profile of an entire football program at Nevada. Kaepernick’s signature win was over Boise State this past season, a win that his head coach proclaimed was “the most important win in program history.” A few more statistical tidbits on Kaepernick:
-- Joined Cam Newton and Tim Tebow as the only QBs in FBS history to throw for 20 TDs and run for 20 TDs in the same season.
-- Finished tied with former Nebraska QB and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch for most rushing TD's in NCAA history by a QB with 59.
-- Stands as the only QB in the history of Division I college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a career.
Kevin Kolb: Public opinion is actually quite mixed on Kolb, who served as Donovan McNabb’s heir apparent in Philadelphia for several seasons before taking over as the starter entering 2010. But Kolb suffered a concussion in Week 1 and watched Michael Vick take the Eagles offense and the NFL by storm. The bottom line, though, is entering the 2010 season Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid was confident enough in Kolb to name him his starter for the season, and that’s good enough for many people. Kolb is young (26 years old), has a nice mix of athleticism and pocket presence and is looking to be a starter rather than a backup. The tricky part is that in order to acquire Kolb, an NFL team will likely have to surrender a healthy package of draft picks, and the Vikings have already traded away their 3rd-round selection in April’s draft.
Matt Leinart: A star at the University of Southern California, Leinart parlayed his college success into being selected with a 1st-round pick (#10 overall) by the Arizona Cardinals in 2007. Unfortunately for Leinart, it didn’t take long for the shine to vanish from his star. He was never able to obtain and hold onto the starting job and eventually he was cut by the Cardinals and signed by the Houston Texans. But just as Kolb has gone on record as saying, Leinart is determined to be a starter in the NFL and there doesn’t appear to be a future for him in Houston. His recent history is nothing to write home about, but the left-handed Leinart has prototypical size and apparently a desire to resurrect his career somewhere.
Jake Locker: Locker was considered the #1 QB prospect after the 2009 college football season, but he decided to return to the University of Washington for his senior season rather than enter the draft. He had an up-and-down senior year, but led the Huskies to 4 straight wins to close the season, including a 19-7 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Holiday Bowl. Locker is still a consensus top 5 QB in this year’s NFL draft, with his #1 positive being a strong throwing arm and his most frequent criticism being a lack of accuracy. Another huge asset in Locker’s skill set is his mobility; he’s an outstanding passer outside of the pocket.
Ryan Mallet: At 6-7, 238 pounds, Mallet is almost too big but he uses that size to stand boldly in the pocket and deliver passes with a rocket arm. He began his college career at the University of Michigan, but transferred to Arkansas in 2008. He led Arkansas to 8-5 and 10-2 records in 2009 and 2010, respectively, setting more than 15 school records along the way. Mallet, projected to go anywhere from the 1st-to-3rd rounds, had a 62-19 TD/INT ratio the past 2 seasons and completed just shy of 65% of his passes in 2010. NFL Network draft analyst and Vikings preseason game analyst Mike Mayock says Mallet can make all the throws but questions his decision making in the pocket.
Donovan McNabb: An elite NFL QB for much of his career, McNabb was traded by the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins in 2009. McNabb still has a cannon for an arm, but the great mobility he had in the prime of his career has diminished some and that has hurt his game. McNabb has 36,250 career passing yards and 250 career passing TDs, plus he’s played in a Super Bowl and 4 NFC title games, so he has big-game experience and is familiar with the West Coast offense. The question is how much does he have left in the tank? And, will he be back with Washington this upcoming season?
Cam Newton: A Heisman Trophy- and BCS National Championship-winning QB during the 2010-11 season, Newton took the college football world by storm this past season. His combination of mobility and pocket-passing presence has many enamored with his prospects as a pro QB, but off-field concerns and maturity issues have others intent on digging deeper in their evaluation of his draft value. Newton, an underclassman, was the best player in the country during this past season and there will be teams itching to get their hands on him with a 1st-round pick.
Kyle Orton: Linked to the Vikings during the time Josh McDaniels – who traded for Orton as Denver Broncos Head Coach – was a candidate for the offensive coordinator post in Minnesota, Orton is primarily a pocket passer who has seen mixed results in 6 seasons. His best year was in 2009 with Denver, when he threw for 3,802 yards and had a nice 21-12 TD/INT ratio. Orton is a 58.1% passer with a 79.6 career passer rating.
Carson Palmer: An elite passer at one point in his career, Palmer has since fallen on tougher times in Cincinnati and recently asked to be traded. He led the Bengals to an 11-5 mark in 2005, but then suffered a severe knee injury in the playoffs and hasn’t been the same elite player since. In 2009 Palmer and the Bengals returned to the playoffs but then in 2010 the team regressed to a 4-12 record. Palmer has a career passer rating of 86.9 and is a 62.9% passer. Here’s a deeper look at Palmer’s potential availability.
Christian Ponder: After an up-and-down but generally successful career at Florida State, Ponder enters the 2010 NFL Draft as a mid-round prospect. He quickly earned the starting job at Florida State but his career there was impacted by injury, including a season-ending shoulder injury in 2009 and an elbow issue in 2010. But the 2010 season was his best and included wins over in-state rivals Miami and Florida. Ponder graduated from Florida State early with a high GPA and was also named the MVP of this year’s Senior Bowl. At 6-2, 221 pounds, Ponder has good size and he’s also considered an athletic QB.
Ricky Stanzi: He’s not at the top of draft boards and he doesn’t pass the eye test in the way a Cam Newton does, but there’s no denying Ricky Stanzi is a winner at the QB position. Since 2008, Iowa accumulated a 28-11 record and Stanzi was the starter for most of those games. He led Iowa to a 11-2 mark in 2009 and although Iowa had a relatively down year (9-4) in 2010, Stanzi was a standout while completing 64.1% of his passes and building a pristine 25-6 TD/INT ratio.
Vince Young: A BCS National Championship-winning QB who also has a winning record as an NFL starter, Young seems to have fallen out of favor in Tennessee. He’s another QB with a terrific blend of arm strength and athleticism, but he’s also shown an inability to handle adversity well. His former position coach in Tennessee – Craig Johnson – is the new Vikings QBs coach, which will lead many to link Young with the Vikings this offseason. Only time will tell if the Vikings pursue Young as a veteran option at QB heading into the 2011 season.