Scouting the Vikings: 'It's a waste' to not find a place for Joe Webb
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Each day until players report to training camp on July 26, Tom Pelissero is breaking down the Minnesota Vikings' roster by position, based on observations of games and practices, tape studies and interviews with NFL coaches and scouts.
On the roster (4)
Ponder (6-foot-2, 229 pounds) puzzled scouts somewhat as a rookie because he's known as a smart guy, yet didn't ascend after an encouraging first start. But he did show enough athleticism, arm strength and talent for extending plays with his legs to strengthen the Vikings' belief in him as the quarterback of the future. Harnessing his mobility, trusting his progressions and not aiming the ball will be areas of emphasis for Ponder in Year 2, and upgrades to the line and perimeter group should help. Patience is a virtue at that position. He already has been named the starter over Webb (6-4, 220), the athletic freak who is working at exclusively at quarterback for the first time. He has a knack for making things happen once the play breaks down and probably end up getting time somewhere on the field when the real games begin.
Rosenfels (6-4, 225) hasn't started a regular-season game since 2008 and isn't really on the team to play at age 34. He got $500,000 in guarantees on his two-year deal, though, and at least will have the chance to show he's a viable No. 2 option if and when the Vikings start integrating Webb elsewhere.
Bethel-Thompson (6-4, 230) received a $5,000 bonus and impressed with his strong arm in the offseason. But he hasn't played a whole lot and is fighting an uphill battle if the Vikings want to make sure there's a veteran in the room.
One scout's take on ... Joe Webb
"I do think he could still be your No. 2, but it's a waste. He's just such a good athlete. There's got to be some way you can get him on the field in some capacity. Even if you're going to put him in the slot on occasion, give him a reverse. It's effective even if you put him in there (and) you want to fake that reverse, because it's going to hold that backside end when you've got (Adrian) Peterson healthy. That's going to help him out. I've got to believe there's some kind of a package, even if he was just a decoy where you could get him on the field, because he is a dynamic athlete, that's for sure."
-- NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah, former scout for the Ravens, Browns and Eagles
It's not an exaggeration to say the near future of the franchise is on Ponder's shoulders. That's why the Vikings have dedicated so many resources to improving his supporting cast. His progression will go a long way towards dictating if and when Rick Spielman's rebuilding project bears fruit.