NFL: Vikings shop for an emergency starter at quarterback

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings signed Brett Favre before the 2009 season in part because they had tired of playing a game of musical quarterbacks. But one game after Favre's NFL-record starting streak came to an end it appears this ...

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings signed Brett Favre before the 2009 season in part because they had tired of playing a game of musical quarterbacks. But one game after Favre's NFL-record starting streak came to an end it appears this franchise is right back where it started.

Tarvaris Jackson, who got the call in place of Favre in the Vikings' 21-3 loss to the Giants on Monday in Detroit, is battling turf toe that leaves his availability in doubt for Monday night's game against Chicago. Rookie Joe Webb is still learning and has been battling a hamstring issue. Favre, meanwhile, is almost certain to be unavailable because of continued numbness in his throwing hand and an injured shoulder.

All of this means that the quarterback who could start against the Bears might not have been on the roster as of Tuesday. Interim coach Leslie Frazier admitted the Vikings would be looking outside for potential help from a free agent.

"We have a list of about eight different names that we are going through, just trying to determine which guy best fits us at this stage because it is probably going to be a guy who may very well find himself playing in that Monday night game," Frazier said. "So through that list we are trying to determine which guy can help us."

Although Frazier wouldn't comment on any names, the Vikings reportedly already have expressed interest in working out Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey, 31, hasn't thrown an NFL pass since 2008 but he was with Miami earlier this season.


Other potential names on the list could include former Viking Todd Bouman, who was with Jacksonville this season and made a spot start; Josh McCown, who has been with Hartford of the United Football League; Brett Ratliff, who has played for four NFL teams; and John David Booty, a fifth-round pick of the Vikings in 2008.

Although Brooks Bollinger is familiar with the Vikings offense from his time with organization in 2006 and '07 and has been playing for Florida of the UFL, the Vikings aren't believed to have reached out to him.

Frazier did express optimism about Favre on Tuesday, saying the veteran had undergone an ultrasound test to exam the nerve area in his shoulder and neck. That exam did not show any nerve damage. "It was negative, so we will see how he feels as the week goes on and try to monitor that and hope things will get better for him," Frazier said.

" ... Now it is just a matter of the time-frame. How long will it take for the numbness to go away? Brett is an unusual healer. He comes back a lot sooner than others from most injuries. So we just have to wait and see."

Following Monday night's game, Frazier hadn't dismissed the prospect of creating a roster spot by placing Favre on injured reserve for the final three games of the season. But a more optimistic Frazier made it clear Tuesday that is no longer an option.

"I don't see that as being a part of the equation at this point," Frazier said. "It looks like there is a chance that we will be able to get him back at some point, hopefully this week. We are optimistic that it is going to happen so we are not really thinking IR at all."

Because their next game is on Monday night, Vikings players will be off Wednesday and resume practice on Thursday. Potential workouts likely would take place Wednesday at Winter Park.

Frazier doesn't expect Jackson to be able to take part in practice on Thursday. "That is a difficult injury, in particular if you are a skill position guy like he is," Frazier said of Jackson. That could leave with Webb as the only quarterback currently on the 53-man roster who would practice. The Vikings did sign R.J. Archer to their practice squad last week so he's available to at least help split some of the passes in practice.


Jackson struggled against the Giants, completing 15 of 30 passes for 118 yards with an interception and 46.2 passer rating. He left the game because of various injury issues three times and Webb completed two of five passes for 8 yards. There are some who now want to see Webb get a shot, but Frazier knows the sixth-round pick from Alabama-Birmingham remains very much a work in progress.

Asked if he would consider giving Webb the chance to play the rest of the season, Frazier said: "Only if Brett and Tarvaris are definitely out will we go in that direction. ... (Webb) hasn't had a lot of practice reps, including last week. It wouldn't be an ideal situation if he had to start the game on Monday night. If that is the case, he would be ready for it and we would do whatever we have to do to get him prepared. You just have to know, he hasn't had a lot of snaps as a quarterback."


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