Brett Favre (Miles Kennedy/AP)
The Vikings will search for a quarterback any way possible – via free agency or the draft – but Leslie Frazier continues to rule out another pursuit of Brett Favre. While the start of free agency won’t happen until a new labor deal is in place, the timing of that could dictate the Vikings’ plans at QB.
New Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made one thing very clear during his one-hour visit with the media at the NFL league meetings in New Orleans. If he has his way, the Vikings are going to address their need for a quarterback through the draft.
"Even if there were free agency, we might still look at quarterbacks (in the draft), unless there was a free-agent quarterback that had youth and you knew you were going to have him for a number of years," Frazier said. "With a veteran guy, we'd still be looking at drafting a guy, because we need to build around a young guy who is likely to (stick around)."
The Vikings hold the 12th overall pick in the first round and it remains unclear which prospect they covet. The list of potential candidates includes Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Auburn's Cam Newton, Washington's Jake Locker, TCU's Andy Dalton, Arkansas' Ryan Mallet, Florida State's Christian Ponder and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.
The Vikings are doing their due diligence on all, although clearly they would have to trade up if they want a shot at getting Gabbert or Newton. Frazier mentioned on more than one occasion that moving up might be a possibility.
Frazier again made it clear that no matter what happens in the Vikings' pursuit of a quarterback - free agency and trades are off limits right now because of the NFL lockout -- that he won't be making a late-summer call to Brett Favre to attempt to talk him out of retirement.
Right now, the quarterbacks on the Vikings' roster are Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar, who was signed late last season off the New York Giants practice squad.
Webb started the final two games of the season after Favre suffered a concussion and led the team to a victory over Philadelphia before finishing up with a loss at Detroit.
In four games, Webb completed 54 of 89 passes for 480 yards with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 61.1 passer rating.
While the Vikings have said all the right things about giving Webb a chance to compete, the reality is he was drafted in the sixth round last April with the intention that he would be moved to wide receiver.
That didn't happen after coach Brad Childress saw Webb throw in a rookie camp, but Childress is gone and there is a chance Webb could end up in some type of wildcat role.
The Vikings don't own a third-round pick because they dealt it to New England in the Randy Moss trade last fall. Frazier knows if he's going to get his wish of bringing in a rookie starter that it almost certainly will have to be early in the draft.
"I can't imagine a scenario where we wouldn't add a quarterback (in the draft) at some point," Frazier said. "If you're going to get a franchise-type guy that you can build around, he usually comes earlier than later - the first or second round. It's an aberration to get a Tom Brady in the sixth round."
Coach Leslie Frazier talked about he looks for in a quarterback. While others in the organization will evaluate the physical attributes of the available quarterbacks, Frazier said he will be focusing on other things.
"The quarterback position is unlike any other person on the team," Frazier said. "That guy, his mental is as important as his athletic ability. More important, in a lot of ways. Good athletes at quarterback don't always become franchise quarterbacks. For us, we're looking and hoping to find a franchise quarterback. So my time with him is as important or more important than what we see on tape."
Asked if he is starting to lean in one direction, Frazier said, "I'm trying to be open-minded until we finish some of these private workouts. But it's hard not to (become enamored with a quarterback) when you watch a certain tape and go, 'Oh, man, this is the guy.' Then you put on another tape and go, 'Wait a minute. This guy ...' So you have to be a little careful and just go through the process. But each one of them, they all have good qualities of some type. I do have to catch myself sometimes not getting biased before we finish this process."