The Minnesota Vikings‘ quarterback controversy heated up even more on Tuesday with Adrian Peterson’s endorsement of Matt Cassel. This uncertainty, whether to give Christian Ponder another chance or keep Cassel as the starter, could divide the Vikings’ locker room and hinder the team’s chemistry on and off the field. Regardless of whom the team decides on as the starting quarterback, the Vikings must find their franchise quarterback this offseason.
Compared to the 2013 NFL Draft that saw no quarterbacks selected in the first round, the 2014 Draft projects to be much deeper at the position. There are plenty of quality quarterback prospects regardless of where the Vikings select in the first round. Some of the quarterback prospects that have been graded as possible first-round picks are Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Murray, Johnny Manziel, A.J. McCarron, Tajh Boyd, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, Zach Mettenberger and Derek Carr.
I’m not saying the Vikings’ should jump to select a specific quarterback, but clearly there are plenty of talented options for the team to consider. There shouldn’t be another scenario like the Vikings had in the 2011 Draft, where they surprised everyone at No. 12 by reaching to select Ponder. With so many talented quarterbacks available in next year’s draft, the Vikings have a chance to evaluate several players and scenarios, which should make their decision that much easier.
I’m not saying the team and the fans should ignore the rest of the season and look ahead to the 2014 Draft. There’s still a slim chance that the Vikings can turn their season around behind the play of Ponder or Cassel. But unless they have a historic turnaround and drastically overachieve, the Vikings will be looking for their franchise quarterback for the second time in four years.