The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 7, 2014

Frederick: Finding longterm QB solution key for Vikings' draft

When the Vikings arrive in Mankato in late July for training camp, they will do so with yet another new head coach, Mike Zimmer.

Zimmer is the team’s fifth coach in 14 years, hardly a sign of stability. Then again, other than spending half of August at Minnesota State each year, there hasn’t been much you can count on with much regularity with this franchise.

Consider the quarterback position.

Over the last 13 years, the Vikings have employed 14 different starters at the most important position in football, if not sports.

Four coaches and 14 quarterbacks? Should anyone be surprised that this team has a top-10 pick in the draft for the fourth time in 10 years?

With those high picks, the Vikings have gone 2 for 3, with Adrian Peterson (seventh overall) and Matt Kalil (fourth) being the good picks and Troy Williamson (seventh) becoming the poster child for the combine overreach. Every general manager should have a poster of Williamson on the wall of his draft-day war room as a reminder to use caution on guys who were dazzling in February but so-so during the actual football season.

First-round picks — especially top-10 selections — cannot be wasted. They have to be players who teams expect to become starters, make Pro Bowls and give them something to build around.

A Williamson-like bust can be a tremendous setback. Especially when there’s an Aaron Rodgers still on the board (and, in 2005, there was).

The Vikings thought they grabbed a franchise quarterback three years ago when they selected Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick.

I still think there’s some debate that hasn’t taken place about Ponder. Is he really that bad? Or was he not coached up correctly or given enough of an opportunity?

We’ll probably never know, at least not here in Minnesota.

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