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Since about mid-September, the same question has filled the mailbag and swamped our weekly SportsNation chats: Who will Minnesota's quarterback be in 2009?
(Never mind that when it all started, there were still 14 games left in 2008).
So as we near the exciting conclusion of the regular season, let's not only address that question but expand it to include most of the NFC North. For this week's "Have at it," I want to hear what you think your team should do at quarterback next season. How much should the final two regular-season games (and possibly beyond) impact that decision?
You could make an argument that 75 percent of the Black and Blue has uncertain long-term situations at quarterback. (In Green Bay, the Packers signed Aaron Rodgers to a long-term contract extension and have no plans to create competition for him next season).
Detroit has gone through five quarterbacks, and it's very possible that neither Jon Kitna nor Dan Orlovsky nor Daunte Culpepper nor Drew Stanton nor Drew Henson will fit into the future plans of the Lions' next leadership group. And don't forget, Detroit is on track to have the No. 1 pick of the draft and could have its pick of college quarterbacks.
The Bears seem to have found their man in Kyle Orton, but his inconsistent performance since returning from a sprained ankle has given at least some reason for pause. Let's take a brief statistical snapshot:
There are some NFL observers, including the NFL Network's Cris Collinsworth, who believe Orton can only be successful when his primary receiver is open. If he has to look to a second or third read, he is "lost," to use Collinsworth's word.
But the Bears have been searching for a quarterback since, well, a long time ago. They know how much worse it can get than Orton. Knowing the state of quarterbacking in the NFL, the Bears will have to ask themselves if they can do better than Orton. What do you think?
Finally, it's hard to imagine the Vikings entering 2009 with Gus Frerotte as their primary quarterback. Frerotte is 8-3 as a starter this season, but he has taken some hard shots this season and is likely to miss another start this week because of a fracture in his lower back.
That leaves Tarvaris Jackson as the Vikings' short-term starter and puts the organization in the exact same position it was in at the end of 2007: Should it turn the keys over to Jackson or seek a new starter in the offseason? Last year, coach Brad Childress entrusted Jackson with the job but then benched him after two games.
Can the Vikings afford to take the same risk two years in a row? Or can Jackson settle any concerns about his abilities by leading the Vikings on a playoff run? For what it's worth, here are Jackson's numbers before and after his 2008 benching:
As always, hit the mailbag or use the comment section below. I'll post a representative sample of your thoughts, along with my own take, Friday morning. Have at it.