What will Norv Turner's quarterback be like?
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The only quarterback on the Vikings roster is Christian Ponder. But many expect he will not be the starter when the Vikings open the 2014 season with a new coaching staff.
The team officially announced its coaching staff for the first time Thursday, although some of the position coaches and coordinators already were known. Thursday was the first time new offensive coordinator Norv Turner addressed the Minnesota media since he was hired.
The topic on the mind of many fans: What will the Vikings do at quarterback?
Turner is wise not to give up too much information, but he addressed a few areas of interest in his press conference, posted on the team's website. He spoke about free agent Matt Cassel, incumbent Christian Ponder and the possibility of drafting a quarterback in May.
"We're evaluating the players that are here. It's a process we go through," Turner said Thursday. "We'll see where it takes us."
Some feel the Vikings will be compelled to draft a quarterback at No. 8 in the 2014 draft, regardless of which players still are available. Turner did not answer directly, saying instead that head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman would make that call.
"I think everyone is in agreement that we're trying to add a young quarterback to the organization. You've just got to make sure it's a good one, wherever you get him," Turner said.
What does Turner look for in a quarterback?
"I think this league has gotten to the point where the mental part of [quarterbacking] is really important. Guys who can grasp concepts, who can make quick decisions, understand how to play the game. That's easier said than done," Turner said. "After that, obviously, the physical skillset to play. To me, accuracy is an important part as any skill in terms of being a passer."
Matt Cassel, who had a mutual option on the second year of his contract, chose to opt out. He will be a free agent when the signing period begins March 11. He is an option for the Vikings, but if he's considered a starter, he likely will make more than the $3.7 million he was in line to make in 2014 for the Vikings.
"There's a business side and a player's side," Turner said, when asked if he was surprised Cassel opted out. "I think Matt is interested, he liked his experience year. I think he's excited about the things we're doing, the things we've done. I've known him for quite a while, we talk football. I don't think I'm surprised by him opting out. ... I'm excited to work with Matt."
While Turner said he hasn't talked with Cassel, his son, Scott, has. Scott Turner will be the Vikings quarterbacks coach, the team announced Thursday morning. Norv Turner characterized that discussion as "very positive."
He didn't pass up a chance to say good things about Ponder, either. But he admitted he would need work.
"I've been impressed with Christian and the things he does in terms of his movement. He throws extremely well on the run. He's made the big plays," Turner said. "The starting point with any quarterback for me is eliminating negative plays and that would be one of our starting points."
One reporter asked if the Vikings could win without a player considered to be a "franchise quarterback."
"The guys I've been around that are so-called 'franchise quarterbacks,' weren't considered franchise quarterbacks until they started winning. So you've got to get a guy in that everybody believes in and you start out and put good people around him and then find out how far you can go," Turner said. "I think you get a really good player and you get him with a really good team and you find out how far you can go."