Jeff George back with Vikings, as a 'guest coach' helping QBs
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Jeff George is back with the Vikings, at least for a few days.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick, who played the 1999 season in Minnesota, is serving as a "guest coach" during this week's organized team activities, coach Leslie Frazier said.
"We told our players just to be able to pick his brain, our quarterbacks, and talk with him about some of the things he saw as a young quarterback and what he saw as a veteran and just his maturation over the course of his career," Frazier said. "He was a very good player for a long time, high draft pick, and I think he can really help our players with some of his background and his knowledge as well."
George, 45, last played in the NFL in 2001 with the Washington Redskins, though he was in the league as recently as 2006, when the Oakland Raiders brought him back for a second time late in training camp and released him five days later.
He's now considering getting back into football in a different capacity, Frazier said, so his return to Winter Park provides a change to "(j)ust come and observe and take a look at coaching and see if that's something he's interested in doing."
George threw for 27,602 yards over parts of 14 NFL seasons with five teams -- including a memorable turn with the Vikings, whom he led to a playoff berth in 1999 after replacing struggling starter Randall Cunningham.
He also clashed with coaches at multiple stops and never lived up the hype of a then-impressive $3.5 million signing bonus as the No. 1 pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1990 draft, which included future Pro Football Hall of Famers Cortez Kennedy and Emmitt Smith.
"We haven't talked a whole lot," Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder said. "He has come up to me a few times. He understands the game. Obviously, he was around for a while. He's got a great knowledge of the game. He's sat in the meetings and stuff with us. Just another guy that you can bounce something off of him, and he's good to have around."
Asked if George also serves as an extra set of eyes on the roster, Frazier said, "He and I have talked actually about what he's seen and what he thinks of some of our guys and it's been very favorable. He can always point out some things because of his experience. He worked for a number of coordinators during his playing career. So, we think having him around is a good thing."