NFL DRAFT: Quinn could be Vikings QB Print
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Thursday, 26 April 2007 14:22
NFL Headline News

 EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -After a 6-10 season had finally come to an end, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress looked at his roster and said changes could be made just about anywhere.
Anywhere, Childress said, ``except quarterback. I think we're set there.''
Eyebrows raised at that comment, knowing the Vikings would head into 2007 with second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and career backup Brooks Bollinger at the position. Childress said he wanted to give Jackson, a 2006 second-rounder, more time before making a decision on him.
A few months later, that stance seems to have softened.
If Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn falls to No. 7 in Saturday's draft, the Vikings are going to have a tough decision to make.
``If we feel that strongly about a quarterback that is sitting in our lap, and again, we're comparing to how strongly we feel about T-Jack,'' vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said Thursday. ``If we feel that strongly that that player is a guy who can get us where we need to go, then you most definitely take him.''
Many draft experts have Quinn off the board by the time the Vikings pick, likely to Cleveland at No. 3. But there are scenarios where he could slip, much like USC's Matt Leinart did last year when he fell all the way to Arizona at No. 10.
There is plenty to like about Quinn, the 6-foot-3, 226-pound golden boy from the Golden Dome. He played in a pro style offense under Charlie Weis and might be more prepared to start right away than LSU's JaMarcus Russell, the QB who will almost certainly be drafted ahead of him.
``How many quarterbacks have that immediate impact who come in as rookies, no matter how high you take them?'' Spielman asked. ``That's something that skews your grading system.''
Critics point to Quinn's poor record in ``big games,'' matchups against rivals Michigan and USC and bowl games, and also wonder about his arm strength.
There are just as many questions about Jackson.
The Vikings traded up into the bottom of the second round to grab the strong-armed quarterback from Division I-AA Alabama State. After watching Brad Johnson struggle to get the team into the end zone for most of last season, Childress turned things over to Jackson, and it didn't get any better.
Jackson joined Fran Tarkenton and Tommy Kramer as the only rookies to start at quarterback for the Vikings. He started two games and played in one more, but the Vikings were reeling by the time he took over and the youngster struggled to move the chains.
He threw only one touchdown in his two starts, both losses, including a miserable performance at Green Bay in which he went 10-for-20 for 50 yards and an interception in a 9-7 loss.
But Childress said he was impressed with Jackson's ability to learn a complex offense, his poise under pressure and his mobility. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 475 yards and had a 62.5 rating.
So the coach let Johnson go in free agency, and the veteran signed with Dallas. Minnesota decided to cast its lot with Jackson and Bollinger.
``Everybody says we need a quarterback,'' Jackson said back in March. ``But it really don't matter. They don't see what our coaches see. They don't see us practice day after day, so they're going to say a lot of stuff.''
Of course, it all depends on what happens with the first six picks. Quinn could be long gone, or the Vikings could decide to trade down and try to accumulate more picks and more players to help them bounce back from a disappointing season.
``There isn't (so little) a need on this football team, and coach Childress will attest to this, that we can't get a good football player in from the draft,'' Spielman said. ``That can be anything from a defensive end to a quarterback to a corner to a safety.''
 

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