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NFL Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings: 5 Potential Replacements for QB Christian Ponder in 2014

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Minnesota Vikings: 5 Potential Replacements for QB Christian Ponder in 2014

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For a long time, the Minnesota Vikings searched for their own franchise quarterback. Dante Culpepper appeared to be on his way to fulfilling those expectations, but injuries and scandal helped derail his great promise. Later, Tavaris Jackson provided athleticism but struggled with consistency.

Of course, future Pro Football Hall of Fame signal caller Brett Favre signed after playing one year with the New York Jets. Even at 39 years of age, Favre had enough left as Minnesota embarked on a journey to that year’s NFC Championship Game. After losing that game, his final season in 2010 proved to be a disaster. Christian Ponder became selected 12th overall in 2011’s NFL Draft. He replaced Donovan McNabb early after a few games.

The former Florida State signal caller has mixed results, finishing with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Ponder improved statically during his second season, having 18 scores and 12 picks. Three of these came in their playoff-clinching Week 17 victory against hated rival Green Bay Packers.

Now that they are viewed as a contender, Minnesota needs Ponder to become elite. Former backup Joe Webb showed great athleticism in their playoff loss. In comparison, Minnesota’s starter is of course a superior passer. If there is not an improvement once again, some believe that the Vikings could make another change. Currently, free agent addition Matt Cassel is slated to serve as the primary backup. His time as a starter has been mostly average, so Cassel likely would not be a long-term answer. If change does occur after this season, here are five players who could be Minnesota’s next starting quarterback.

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5. Johnny Manziel

Johnny Football
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This situation is entirely hypothetical, but interesting to analyze. After his redshirt sophomore year, Johnny Manziel will be able to enter next year’s NFL Draft. Standing at 6-foot-1,’ some view “Johnny Football” as too short for a pro signal caller. His arm strength also brings questions. Looking at early Mock Drafts, he could go somewhere between fourth overall pitck and in the second round. His mobility makes him a superior playmaker to Ponder.

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4. Tajh Boyd

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Tajh Boyd offers another quarterback that could operate a spread offense. Like Manziel, his playing style could be described as duel-threat. He has thrown 69 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Minnesota would likely have to regress in this scenario as Boyd is slated by many as a top-10 selection.

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3. Teddy Bridgewater

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Here is probably the best and worst case scenario for teams needing a quarterback. I know it is way too soon in this projection, but Teddy Bridgewater likely represents his class’s best option. Landing him would mean head coach Leslie Fraizer is probably gone, and that this franchise is starting over.

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2. Michael Vick

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No one has talked about a Michael Vick arrival in Minnesota, so I will be the first. While such a union is unlikely, the possibility exists. After restructuring his deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, this could be Vick’s last season as an Eagle. Yes, he turns 34 before 2014’s action begins, but a good showing this year could make him a desirable free agent. He still has enough rushing ability to pair with Adrian Peterson to create big play opportunities. The quarterback’s arm strength could stretch defenses and mean more production for receivers.

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1. Jay Cutler

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I am not sure this would be a great match for either side. Besides Greg Jennings, other outside options do not offer as much confidence. This pairing has already been rumored as Jay Cutler enters the final season of his contract with the Chicago Bears. It would be intriguing if Cutler sticks it to Chicago. He also has tremendous arm strength, but he may not represent too much of an upgrade over Ponder because of too many turnovers.