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Thursday, October 6, 2011
Dolphins only winless team chasing Luck?

By James Walker

The Miami Dolphins are 0-4 and their starting quarterback -- Chad Henne -- is done for the year with a shoulder injury.

Enter Andrew Luck in 2012? It's very possible.

But if you look deeper, Miami's biggest competition may not be competition at all. Miami is one of four winless teams. The other three have some level of stability at quarterback.

Count the St Louis Rams (0-4) out of the "Luck Sweepstakes." The Rams just drafted franchise quarterback Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick in 2010. St. Louis signed Bradford to a contract worth a maximum of $86 million and is sticking with him, regardless if it lands the top pick.

The Indianapolis Colts (0-4) are in the race because of the neck injury to Peyton Manning. But the Colts expect Manning to return. Otherwise, they would not have reached a five-year extension reportedly worth up to $90 million. Yes, Indianapolis could draft Luck No. 1 overall. But it wouldn't be a wise use of resources. Luck could rot on the bench behind Manning for the next 3-4 years once Manning is healthy.

The Minnesota Vikings (0-4) are the trickiest of the group. Minnesota signed struggling veteran Donovan McNabb in the offseason. He probably won't be on the team next year. But the Vikings also are high on 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder. Many felt Minnesota reached on Ponder by taking him No. 12 overall. The Vikings disagree. But that theory could be tested if they're eligible to draft Luck, who is viewed as one of the top quarterback prospects in years. Would Minnesota draft first-round quarterbacks in back-to-back years? Or would they stick with Ponder over Luck?

This all opens the door for the Dolphins. Other one-win teams like Seattle (1-3), Denver (1-3) and Kansas City (1-3) are competition, as well. But Miami has the inside track. The Dolphins are playing the rest of the year with a backup quarterback (Matt Moore) and a coach (Tony Sparano) on the hot seat.