Setting odds on a Vikings veteran

Marc Bulger (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

The Vikings will have plenty of choices for a veteran to bring into the fold, but the most talk-about players don't seem to make the most sense with the team's current desire to have Christian Ponder starting early.

With the brief flicker of hope that has come from ominous tone of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision Friday, there has been a flurry of questions about the Vikings adding a veteran quarterback.

The funny part is that the focus has been on players like Donovan McNabb and Vince Young. Those projections are made by fantasy football types. Reality football tells you that, while McNabb or Young would be interesting additions to the roster, there are other factors at play.

Nobody has put betting odds on who will end up the veteran Vikings quarterback that Leslie Frazier has consistently hinted at and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said was almost a prerequisite. With that said, here's our field of potential veteran QBs and the odds they will end up in purple in 2011. The best QBs aren't at the top of the list – that's fantasy. The realistic QBs are at the top of the list.

Note: For the sake of argument, the Vikings don't make a franchise tag-breaking offer to Peyton Manning or Michael Vick and Brett Favre doesn't return for a 21st season).

JaMarcus Russell (500:1) — Purple Drank and purple and gold don't mix.

Kevin Kolb (200:1) — He is the plum of the trade market, but there is little chance the Vikings will pay the king's ransom in draft picks and contract Kolb will require.

Matt Hasselbeck (60:1) — He is the ideal candidate for the Vikings job, but he is almost assured to re-sign with the Seahawks, where he has spent his entire career as a starter and, given his postseason resurgence, the home-town deal may be better than what he will be offered out of town.

Carson Palmer (50:1) — He would draw a lot of interest, but he and the Bengals will kiss and make up.

Tarvaris Jackson (49:1) — The Vikings gave away his No. 7 to Christian Ponder. Seven is the square root of 49, so the odds make sense.

Patrick Ramsey (40:1) — He quietly slid into town late last year, but isn't on the future radar.

Tyler Thigpen (35:1) — It would be an NFL circle-of-life scenario for the guy the Vikings tried to slide through on the practice squad four years ago if he makes his way back to where it all began.

Alex Smith (30:1) — He would be an intriguing prospect, but there will be other teams that will tell him he will have a legitimate chance to win and keep the starting job.

Todd Collins (24:1) — A prototype backup QB, he's almost a cliché.

Vince Young (22:1) – This may be too low, but the Vikings might find a way to give him an incentive-laden two-year deal and see what happens.

Matt Leinart (20:1) — A former high first-rounder, beggars can't be choosers, but he is most likely to find a way to reunite with Pete Carroll in the Great Northwest.

Kerry Collins (18:1) — A veteran nearing the end of the line, he may have more value staying in Tennessee with Vince Young on the way out and Jake Locker over his head.

Charlie Frye (15:1) — Fans will hate it, but he fits the M.O. of what the Vikings are looking for.

J.T. O'Sullivan (15:1) — See Charlie Frye.

Rex Grossman (13:1) — Fans may revolt if the former Bears whipping boy becomes the Vikings primary backup.

Donovan McNabb (9:1) — This would be a home run pick for the Vikings if he is simply released by the Redskins, but another team may be willing to part with more than the Vikings would, both in draft picks and contract money.

Bruce Gradkowski (8:1) — He isn't a sexy pick, but he has a big arm and starting experience.

Trent Edwards (8:1) — A guy who has promise, but would accept a backup role more readily than most of the other vets on the board.

Billy Volek (7:1) — He is an ideal candidate, one with experience, good field vision and could take a back seat at any time without squawking about it.

Chad Pennington (4:1) — He can't throw a pass more than 30 yards with any steam, but he has a wealth of experience and the Musgrave offense could be tailored to his short-passing, timing strengths.

Marc Bulger (3:1) — He has the durability of a wet Dixie Cup, but, given the situation, he may be the best option to sign a one-year deal and provide some reasonable insurance if Ponder is ready to take the job.

Fantasy types may be pushing the McNabb/Young/Hasselbeck bandwagon, but the reality may be more in the Bulger/Pennington/Volek realm.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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