Frazier, Vikings looking to draft for new QB
Leslie Frazier has his coaching staff pretty much assembled, and
the decisions he made hint at the direction the Minnesota Vikings
want to go as they look to replace quarterback Brett Favre.
Frazier tabbed Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave
to run his offense, and Musgrave’s work in developing Matt Ryan
into one of the most promising young arms in the league played a
role in that decision.
Both Frazier and Musgrave say the best situation would be to
find a young quarterback the Vikings can turn the offense over to
”Ideally, you’d like to find the Matt Ryans of the world, the
Joe Flaccos of the world and ride with one of those guys,” Frazier
said Thursday. ”But it doesn’t always happen that way. We just
kind of have to see where things fall. If we find someone like
that, you’d like to build around him. That really gives you a
chance for the long term.”
The Vikings have a history of bringing in veterans in the
twilight of their careers – Warren Moon, Jim McMahon, Brad Johnson,
Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Gus Frerotte and Favre, all since
1993 – and trying to squeeze a few more good years out of them.
They drafted and developed Daunte Culpepper into a six-year
starter, but that has been the exception and not the rule in
Minnesota. The Vikings draft 12th overall in April, and they could
be leaning toward taking a quarterback in the first round
”Ideally, you would like to find a young guy that has a bunch
of promise and potential and you would hand him the keys and let
him make his mistakes and learn and but also know that he would be
there for you in the long term,” Musgrave said. ”I believe that
will be one of our goals to identify any candidates that can fit
that role, but at the same time be ready to find some other fellows
that may have some experience, that can come in and be effective
and also have some upside to them as well.”
The Vikings do have Joe Webb, a rookie who started two games
this season, on the roster already. And Frazier picked former
Tennessee quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson to do the same job in
Minnesota, which could make Vince Young an intriguing
If they decide to draft a quarterback in the first round,
Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, Auburn’s Cam Newton, Washington’s Jake
Locker and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett are considered the top
That’s where Musgrave comes in.
”He’s done a great job of developing a young quarterback in
Matt Ryan and we’re in a position where we’re going to have to do
something similar, at least we expect to,” Frazier said.
With Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe on the
roster, the transition from college to the pros could be smoother
in Minnesota than other places. And Musgrave said he would bring
with him an offense that is easy to learn.
”We’ll make it very streamlined,” Musgrave said. ”We’ll make
the formations easy to learn for the guys, because I believe in
players playing fast. We don’t want them out there thinking what
word was used for this or that.”
Top backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who went on
season-ending injured reserve with turf toe late in the year, has
an expiring contract.
Frazier also announced that former Carolina Panthers offensive
coordinator Jeff Davidson was joining the staff as offensive line
He’ll have much more familiarity with the defensive staff, where
most of the group from last season remains intact, including Fred
Pagac as defensive coordinator. The one notable addition is Hall of
Famer Mike Singletary, who will coach linebackers and serve as a
special assistant to Frazier.
Singletary and Frazier have been close friends for more than two
decades, dating to their playing days with the Chicago Bears.
Singletary was fired as coach of the San Francisco 49ers but said
he never considered taking a year off before jumping back into the
”I couldn’t sit back or take a step back if I wanted to,”
Singletary said. ”Coaching is something that I love to do. I don’t
know how guys could sit out for a year. I guess everybody is
different. But for me a couple of weeks was enough. I’m ready to