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Updated: April 17th, 2012 8:33pm
Vikings by position, Day 3: Depth chart close to set at quarterback

Vikings by position, Day 3: Depth chart close to set at quarterback

by Tom Pelissero
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Each weekday until the NFL Draft begins on April 26, Tom Pelissero is breaking down the Minnesota Vikings' roster by position, based on observations of games and practice, weekly tape studies and interviews with NFL coaches and scouts.

Day 3


On the roster (4)

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Christian Ponder, Sage Rosenfels, Joe Webb.


The Vikings remain committed to Ponder (6-foot-2, 229 pounds), who displayed encouraging traits even as his rookie season became a mess of injuries and uneven production. In 11 games (10 starts), the No. 12 overall draft pick was 158-of-291 passing (54.3%) for 1,853 yards, 13 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 70.1 rating, doing some of his best work in the red zone (NFL-best 77.8% passing, eight TDs, one INT). No one should benefit more from a full offseason, but keeping Ponder healthy and confident will be pivotal. Webb (6-4, 220) will focus solely on playing quarterback, taking the same types of reps as Ponder to give coaches a more accurate gauge on his capability in Bill Musgrave's offense. That doesn't mean the "Blazer" package is dead -- Webb is too freakish of an athlete to warm the bench -- but they're done toying with him at receiver for now. Instead, he'll get a chance to prove he can make complicated reads and rhythm throws as he rarely did in three relief appearances last season (54.0% passing, 74.5 rating, 154 rushing yards, five total TDs). Rosenfels (6-4, 222) didn't receive a signing bonus on the two-year deal he signed last month, but $500,000 of his $1.45 million base salary in 2012 is guaranteed and he also has a $50,000 workout bonus. He figures as the No. 3 quarterback and mentor in the meeting room, although it wouldn't be a surprise if Musgrave is more comfortable going with the veteran should Ponder be lost for an extended stretch. Bethel-Thompson (6-4, 230) got a $5,000 signing bonus on the two-year futures deal he signed in January after brief stints last year with San Francisco, Miami and two minor-league teams. He's a long shot, but flashing in the offseason could put the Vikings in a tight spot, since teams rarely carry a practice-squad quarterback if they have three on the 53-man roster.

Draft outlook

The only quarterback the Vikings care much about in this draft is Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill, whose supposedly rising stock is their primary hope for collecting a king's ransom for the No. 3 pick. The chances of that happening appear relatively slim, though -- and the chances of the Vikings selecting a quarterback with any of their 10 picks are even slimmer.

Last 10 drafts

• 2011: Ponder (first round, 12th overall).
• 2010: Webb (sixth, 199th).
• 2009: None.
• 2008: John David Booty (fifth, 137th).
• 2007: Tyler Thigpen (seventh, 217th).
• 2006: Tarvaris Jackson (second, 64th).
• 2005: None.
• 2004: None.
• 2003: None.
• 2002: None.

Linked in

The Vikings have had no known visits with quarterbacks, although they did interview top prospects Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in February at the NFL scouting combine.

High fives

Mel Kiper, ESPN: 1. Luck. 2. Griffin. 3. Tannehill. 4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State. 5. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network: 1. Luck. 2. Griffin. 3. Tannehill. 4. Weeden. 5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State.

Shawn Zobel, 1. Luck. 2. Griffin. 3. Tannehill. 4. Weeden. 5. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin.

Up next


Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero