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Minnesota's Post-Culpepper Madness

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by user DNL

more "on the DL" opinions

Joey Harrington, welcome to Miami. Once Steve McNair's situation is resolved, all but one recent starting QB will be unemployed (Kerry Collins). For the Minnesota Vikings, this means that a reworked team -- Chester Taylor getting the carries, Koren Robinson leading the receiving corps, and Steve Hutchinson anchoring the line -- will have Brad Johnson as its centerpiece.

Yes, Brad Johnson, who lost his job to Brian Griese and Chris Simms, is the heir-apparent to the man they call Daunte. The fact is that he's probably good enough to not screw things up, and can reasonably lead a talented team (which the Vikings may not be) to a playoff berth. The question is not so much him, but the guys behind him.

First is Mike McMahon, who in nine appearances last year, completed 45% of his passes, and managed a 33 attempt, 12 completion, 151 yard day versus the Buzzsaw; who lost a starting job to Mr. Harrington. The third stringer is Tarvaris Jackson, some rookie project who could be good with time, but by that point, Chester Taylor will be 50 and Koren will be in rehab. To wit: Jackson isn't seeing live action in 2006.

The NFC North is weak. Brett Favre should have retired instead of hanging with the disaster known as the Green Bay Packers. The vaunted Chicago Bears defense couldn't figure out that it may be important to put a man on Steve Smith. The Lions -- well, they are clearly the best team in the NFL, not counting those 30 others not in Houston.

I don't get it. Generally, I'm skeptical about the need for a "veteran backup" of the Jay Fiedler/Trent Dilfer variety. However, the Vikings are an exception. Why? Their situation dicates that a servicable starter is all they need to have a good shot at the playoffs. They don't need Peyton Manning to make it into January, but they surely aren't getting there with McMahon taking snaps.

I'm not suggesting that the Vikings should have held onto Culpepper, given the acromony; nor am I suggesting that they should have gone after Kitna, nor McNair or Collins.

There is simply no way that McMahon should ever start in the NFL. None. Zero. He's the ultimate white flag QB. You bring him in and the defense can put nine in the box, because he can't reliabily hit a receiving for a drive-saving catch. He's a threat to run, but big deal.

The Vikings should let Johnson start until his arm falls off (or his knee shatters, or whatever else breaks). But once that happens, they have to have a guy with upside they can plug in; someone who acts both as an insurance policy and as a pseudo-prospect. A guy like Joey Harrington. The details of the negotiations regarding The Mighty Duck made this a pipe dream (which is similarly why Matt Schaub is not on this list]], but he's the mold you're looking for. Also-rans with upside, who would take backup jobs.

There were, and are, more available than one would otherwise think. Tim Couch can't be worse than McMahon, and if he ever demonstrates an ounce of ability, he could be a dutiful NFL starter -- one who could win an NFL title in the Trent Dilfer/Brad Johnson mold.

Patrick Ramsey was cheap -- a late draft pick. Certainly, an affordable price for the Vikings to pay.

That Marques guy on the Raiders, whose name I can't spell (but please, wiki-editors, put it in for me!). By August, he'll be #4 on the depth chart, behind Aaron Brooks, Andrew Walter, and Al Davis.

I'm sure there are more. But Mike McMahon?

Good luck, Vikings fans.


Tue 05/16/06, 7:32 am EST

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