Vikings to 'agressively' pursue QB solution; 'Christian will be here'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Christian Ponder is the only quarterback under contract for the Vikings, but the team plans to "aggressively" pursue a better solution, general manager Rick Spielman said Friday.
"I know Christian does have the physical abilities to do it but for whatever reason things haven't come together for him," Spielman said Friday. He said the Vikings will look for the right fit at quarterback next season. "You've just got to keep getting up there and trying to keep turning it over to try and find that right combination and that right quarterback for your franchise. We're going to be aggressive to try to do that to try to get that position right."
That list includes draft-eligible college players, future unrestricted free agents, as well as other players on rosters that may be cut, Spielman said. Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel will become free agents March 11.
Spielman did not close the door on Christian Ponder playing next season - "Christian will be here" - but his overall tone suggested the team has moved on in search of a better option.
When asked specifically about Ponder's future, Spielman said, "It'll be interesting to see when Norv and Scott Turner work with him just to see where he's at. We're not closing the door on anything and any player here. We've been through on personnel and our coaches and it's a lot different when they've looked at our players and how they can utilize them this way or that way. I'm anxious to see when they get out there and get on the field with these guys that they'll get a true sense of what they're strengths and weaknesses are and how they can utilize it within their systems."
The Vikings will need to add two quarterbacks, "whether it's trying to get Matt [Cassel] back or add another veteran, and then drafting another young guy, too, we're going to have to be active in that area."
Spielman said that the Vikings will sit down with Cassel's agent at the NFL Scouting Combine from Feb. 19-25.
"I know Norv and Scott Turner are heavily involved in the process. They're looking at every stone," Spielman said. "Ultimately it's my responsibility but we really have to do this as a group together to come up with the best solution for us."
It's now fair to say drafting Ponder at No. 12 overall in 2011 was a failure. What has Spielman learned from that pick?
"Quarterback is a very difficult position [to draft]," Spielman said. "It really is, because you can see physical things, but there's so much more beyond the physical that goes into that position. I've looked at it a lot of different ways, looked at a lot of different resources on the outside. I think it's just, having the right coach with the right quarterback with the right chemistry, I think all those stars kind of have to align.
"I have worked with Norv before. I know his history with the quarterbacks. You go out and do your due diligence and do everything you possibly can to make those decisions right."
He also said that the inconsistencies and shortcomings of Ponder are "going to make us look and re-evaluate that position. It isn't because we're not here working our rear ends off, trying to get it right, but I think teams that don't have a franchise guy are always going to be doing that. You have to do everything you possibly can to try to get that right person. But I think it has to be the right scheme fit, the right coach. There's a lot of things that have to align to make that go."