The Minnesota Vikings could be in search of a new starting quarterback this offseason if Christian Ponder tanks and Jay Cutler could be headed for the open market if the Chicago Bears choose not to re-sign him.
Could this create an opportunity for the NFL’s most unemotional quarterback to join an NFC North rival?
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think it would be a good move, but rumors have been whispered that the Vikings could be interested in Cutler if the pieces fall into place by next offseason. While it seems intriguing on the surface, it would be a hard-scratcher for the purple and gold.
First and foremost, the Vikings need a proven quarterback who can get over the hump and take advantage of the talent that head coach Leslie Frazier and GM Rick Spielman have acquired over the last couple of seasons. A big reason why people are skeptical about the Vikings’ chances in 2013 is Ponder, who has been extremely inconsistent in his three seasons with Minnesota. While that’s not to say that Cutler is on the same level as Ponder, he’s not exactly a reliable – or durable – quarterback.
A so-called “crybaby,” Cutler is infamous for pulling himself out of a playoff game with a seemingly minor injury. In his four years with the Bears, Cutler has managed only one postseason appearance as Chicago annually disappoints due to late-season meltdowns.
Ponder may not be the quarterback of the future for the Vikings, but at least he has the leadership and will to win that contenders need from their field general.
Even if the timing is right, the Vikings might not be willing to spend big money on a quarterback who has been on a subtle decline since his sophomore season with the Denver Broncos. Since his time in Denver, Cutler’s quarterback rating has dropped, his completion percentage has wavered, his sacks taken have increased, his touchdown: interception ratio has declined, and his health has become an issue. Not good signs from a supposed “franchise” quarterback.
Still, if Ponder flounders and Matt Cassel plays similar to the way he did with the Kansas City Chiefs, Cutler would be a definite upgrade for the Vikings. Would it be a big enough upgrade to spend $15 million a year, though? That sounds to me like a move Spielman wouldn’t be too excited to pull the trigger on.
Obviously this is all speculation at this point. The Vikings still have to lose faith in Ponder and the Bears still have to let Cutler walk. Both or neither of those things may or may not happen before 2014 free agency begins. You also have to consider that the 2014 NFL Draft could offer up a number of talent-laden young quarterbacks capable of starting from Day 1 for the Vikings.
We’ll see how this situation plays out as the 2013 season progresses. Until 2014 draws closer, try not to lose any sleep over it.