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Updated: March 10th, 2014 10:38pm
Mackey: Vikings retread QBs since 1992, ranked

Mackey: Vikings retread QBs since 1992, ranked

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by Phil Mackey

A retread quarterback is, for the purposes of this experiment, defined as a quarterback who previously started for a different team - but one who was acquired with the understanding that he probably isn't the long-term, franchise guy.

The Minnesota Vikings have had a ton of retread quarterbacks over the past two decades. Here they are, ranked:

1. Brett Favre - He pioneered the second-most explosive offense in team history, with help from cellphone pics. Favre's numbers in 2009 were very similar to the numbers of our No. 2 retread QB in 1998, but what separates Favre is the supporting cast. He was throwing mostly to Sidney Rice, not Randy Moss.

2. Randall Cunningham - He pioneered the most explosive offense in team history, with help from two of the greatest wide receivers of all-time. And like Favre, he completely flamed out in his second season as starter. But it was fun while it lasted.

3. Warren Moon - Like a fine wine, Moon seemed to get better with age. He had his best seasons in Houston at ages 34 and 35, then put up two 4,000-yard seasons in Minnesota at ages 38 and 39. In fact, Moon's 1995 season - 4,228 yards, 33 TDs, 14 INTs and a 91.5 passer rating - is one of the greatest performances ever by a Vikings quarterback.

4. Jeff George - When Cunningham's carriage turned into a pumpkin, George was there to grab the reins in 1999, leading the Vikings to an 8-2 record down the stretch. The Vikings eventually wound up succumbing to the Greatest Show on Turf in January.

5. Jim McMahon - Did you know McMahon never started more than 13 games in any season during his 15-year career? He was, let's call it, safe in his one season in purple, 1993, averaging 164 yards per game while throwing nine touchdowns and eight picks. But that tinted shield was pretty bad ass.

6. Gus Frerotte - Frerotte had two tours of duty in Minnesota, with the second one resulting in a Vikings playoff appearance in 2008. Frerotte's shining moment came on Nov. 30, 2008 when he floated a 99-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian against the Bears at the Metrodome.

7. Brad Johnson, the second time - Yes, the Vikings drafted Johnson in 1992, but his stints in Washington and Tampa (where he won a Super Bowl) made him a retread quarterback upon returning in 2005. Johnson played well for Mike Tice in '05, but clashed with Childress in a sub-par 2006 season.

8. Matt Cassel - To this point, the nicest thing we can say about Cassel is he's not Christian Ponder. Of course, Cassel had the 26th-best QB rating in the NFL last season, but we, as Vikings followers, had beer goggles on.

9. Sean Salisbury - Before his life turned into a "walking trainwreck," Salisbury had some serviceable stints as a starter for playoff teams in 1992 and 1993.

10. Donovan McNabb - Groundball to short...

11. Kelly Holcomb - Yeah.

12. Brooks Bollinger - He's a great guy.

13. Spergon Wynn - Technically a retread, since he started a game for Cleveland in 2000 before joining the Vikings in 2001. In three games (two starts) with the Vikings, Wynn threw one touchdown and six picks. He never threw another NFL pass again, which is probably for the best.

14. Josh Freeman - Better chance at catching a souvenir: Taking your kid to pre-game batting practice at Target Field? Or taking your kid to a Vikings game at Metlife Stadium with Josh Freeman behind center? 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd