Final argument: Vikings targeting Enderle?

April, 27, 2011
4/27/11
2:15
PM ET
Circling back one final time on draft issues we’ve discussed over the past few months:

[+] EnlargeNathan Enderle
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenDrafting a QB like Idaho's Nathan Enderle in the late rounds could be in Minnesota's plans this weekend.
We noted on Tuesday the growing speculation/rumor-mongering/misinformation that the Minnesota Vikings have identified a relative unknown talent in their search for a new quarterback. Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle is a classically-built, strong-armed passer from Idaho who projects as a mid-round pick and could be a consolation if the Vikings miss out on any of the higher-regarded quarterbacks in this draft.

Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune has added some meat to the story, noting the Vikings worked out Enderle privately and consider him on par with Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi.

With the draft a day away, the level of NFL misinformation is at an all-time high. I am certain the Vikings have other quarterbacks in this draft ranked higher than Enderle, and I'm also certain they have a backup plan to draft a "developmental" quarterback if they miss out on drafting a so-called "franchise" quarterback in the first or second round. Beyond those facts, I won't try to guess where the Vikings truly stand on Enderle. We'll know soon enough.

What I think should be said is that the Vikings would put themselves on a much different short-term path if they wind up with an Enderle-type of quarterback than if they draft, say, Washington's Jake Locker, Florida State's Christian Ponder or TCU's Andy Dalton.

Those three players would have a reasonable chance to start as rookies and might not require the acquisition of a bridge starter -- say, Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger or Donovan McNabb. The Vikings could begin developing their scheme around the young quarterback and matching him with personnel that maximizes his skills. Putting themselves through another band-aid year would simply delay that process a year while Enderle/Stanzi or another young quarterback develops.

For those interested, our friends at Scouts Inc. rank Enderle as the No. 12 quarterback in the draft. He's nearly 6-foot-5 and weighs 235 pounds. You can read their entire scouting report Insider with an Insider subscription, but here is the summary: "A big, strong quarterback with the size to endure punishment in the NFL. Foot speed is atrocious though."

If there's a people's choice, however, it sure seems to be Stanzi. Perhaps because he played in a Big 10 schedule in a neighboring state, Stanzi has generated a number of notes to the mailbag like this one from Jeff of Salt Lake City:

"Ricky Stanzi is the QB the Vikings must draft. He is strong in the pocket, moves his feet very good, throws away from defenders and leads his receivers in stride, he escapes the rush and keeps his eyes downfield, good overhand delivery. This kid looks like a winner. When I watch him he looks like the winning NFL QBs. He think he could end up being the best of the bunch. I'm not sure why he us underrated."

The only knock I've heard on Stanzi is about his arm strength, and maybe we've erred by not including him in the conversation more often. We'll know soon enough.

Earlier: The Vikings did a poor job planning a quarterback transition over the past five years. Locker is the first big decision the Vikings have to make. College accuracy is often a strong indicator of NFL success. I chose Dalton in the ESPN.com blogger mock draft. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is desperate for a quarterback. The Vikings might not be able to sit back and wait for a quarterback to come to them.

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