Saturday, January 22, 2011
On Vince Young and the Vikings
By Kevin Seifert ESPN.com
With two of our teams set to play Sunday for the NFC Championship Game, our other two teams have gotten the short shrift in recent weeks. I received your ideas for coverage of the Detroit Lions via Twitter the other day, and fortunately we have an entire offseason to discuss both the Lions and Minnesota Vikings to our hearts' content.
The Titans were 26-14 in games in which Vince Young started at quarterback.
One issue merits near-immediate attention, however. A number of factors have conspired to make the Vikings a trendy landing spot for soon-to-be-former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. Among them:
The Vikings have no established starter on their roster, and coach Leslie Frazier has made clear the position must be addressed this offseason.
Frazier hired longtime friend Craig Johnson as his quarterbacks coach. Johnson was the Titans' running backs coach in 2010 but before that served as Young's position coach.
Johnson had nothing but positive things to say about Young during an interview with The Tennessean. Johnson noted that assistant coaches don't get involved in personnel moves, but added: "Obviously I have a good working relationship with Vince, and he produced pretty well under me."
At this point, we shouldn't rule out any possibility. Frazier just completed assembling his staff, and I don't think the Vikings have mapped out a concrete direction for the offseason yet.
Ultimately, it's probably more coincidental than purposeful that Frazier chose Johnson as his quarterbacks coach. This isn't college basketball recruiting, where you offer a scholarship to the player and a job to the AAU coach. There are too many variables involved in hiring an assistant coach solely in anticipation of acquiring one of his former players.
The big question will be whether Frazier wants to tie his career to a talented but often-troubled quarterback whose team has given up on him. Young could obviously use a change of scenery, but Frazier would face a steep risk-reward decision that could define his tenure.
Young recently sat down with ESPN's Marcellus Wiley, saying he will be an "elite quarterback in the NFL" and hopes that his next team won't hold his previous mistakes against him. We're a long way from there when it comes to the Vikings, but Johnson's arrival at least gives us reason to pause and discuss the possibility.