Vikings: Quick takes on QB items
April, 16, 2014
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Some quick thoughts on a few Minnesota Vikings quarterback items:
- By May 3, NFL teams have to decide whether they will exercise fifth-year contract options for 2011 first-round picks, keeping those players under contract through the 2015 season. Those options are guaranteed only against injury; otherwise, teams face no penalty for cutting a player before the start of the 2015 season. If the Vikings picked up quarterback Christian Ponder's option for the 2015 season, and Ponder played under that contract, it'd cost the team the average of the third through 25th-highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, or $9.686 million. As expensive as that number sounds, the Vikings could always buy insurance against injury and pick up the option if they saw any chance of offensive coordinator Norv Turner coaxing more out of Ponder. Essentially, it's another year of control that likely doesn't include any guaranteed money, since insurance would get the Vikings a cap credit in the event of injury -- and the only way Ponder would play at that number in 2015 is if he surprised the Vikings so much in 2014 that they felt compelled to keep him. The decision will indicate what the Vikings still think they have in Ponder: whether they see any potential left, or whether they're just hanging onto him as a backup in case they only take a developmental QB in the draft. If the Vikings do harbor any belief Ponder can still improve, though, they'll be going against the current of history, as ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando points out. There's a strong historical precedent to suggest quarterbacks are who they're going to be after just 16 starts.Ponder
- Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw at his pro day on Wednesday morning, five months after tearing his ACL, but as CBS Atlanta reporter Robbie Rosenhaus told Vikings play-by-play guy Paul Allen on his show this morning, the Vikings only had a scout there. General manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer were both at the team facility during the Vikings' offseason workout on Tuesday, and the Vikings have draft hopefuls in town on Wednesday and Thursday for their top-30 prospects event. They've typically been sending Spielman, Zimmer and Turner to meet with quarterbacks after their pro days, and though the Vikings could still schedule a private workout with Murray between now and the draft, their approach to his pro day might indicate he's not as high on their list as other quarterbacks. Then again, we're in that time of year where teams are doing their best to conceal their intentions, and it's always possible the Vikings are trying to do that with Murray.