The Joe Webb Conundrum

J.C. LilleheiContributor IIDecember 22, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Joe Webb #14 of the Minnesota Vikings scrambles with the ball during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints on December 18, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

When the Vikings drafted Joe Webb in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft, they truly believed he was destined to be a wide receiver.

Webb has freakish athletic talent that not many athletes possess. This is why the Vikings staff at the time thought that, despite playing quarterback in college, his transition to wide receiver in the NFL would not be that difficult.

However, sometime during training camp at the time, head coach Brad Childress decided to keep Webb at his "natural" position of quarterback. Many saw this as a baffling move because Webb at QB was very raw and his natural talent seemed better suited for wide receiver.

Webb spent most of his rookie season as the scout-team QB before being launched into the starting role after injuries to Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson. Webb lead the Vikings to a 1-1 record starting the final two games of the 2010 season, including a huge upset of Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Despite this, management was not sold on Webb as the future QB of the franchise. They went out and drafted Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft and traded for Donovan McNabb. This relegated Webb to third-string QB for the majority of the 2011 season with him getting limited action in the Viking’s “Blazer” package meant to showcase Webb’s dual-threat capabilities.

This changed against Detroit a few weekends ago after Christian Ponder re-aggravated his hip injury after taking a beating from the Lions defensive line.

Webb entered the game in the third quarter and lead the Vikings to two touchdowns and nearly a game-winning third before fumbling inside the 5-yard line as time expired. Webb was electrifying and even with the Lions' multiple attempts to spy him, they had very little answers for the athletic QB.

After the game and despite Webb’s heroics, head coach Leslie Frazier announced Christian Ponder would remain the starting quarterback. I don’t disagree with Frazier’s decision because I believe Ponder has the talent to be a good starting NFL QB, but this leaves Webb as the odd man out.

I don't understand why the Vikings' coaching staff is so adamant about Webb remaining a QB. Ponder is the QB of the future, but what is the point of having such an explosive player on the bench?

It is time for Joe Webb to be permanently moved to wide receiver. He is a wasted talent on the bench and it is not realistic to run a special package for him at QB more than two or three times a game.

Webb played WR at the 2010 Senior Bowl and he was drafted as a receiver. He has the talent to play the position full time! He is an elite athlete and could provide the deep threat the Vikings desperately need.

Webb must stop being rotated back and forth between WR and QB and be allowed to focus and showcase his talents at WR.

Heck, if the Vikings wanted, they could use Webb as the emergency third-string QB and only carry two QBs on their roster. Webb has all the talent in the world—let him use it.