The Vikings Should Claim Orton

On Tuesday, the Denver Broncos inexplicably cut quarterback Kyle Orton, despite the fact that they could be in playoff contention and have no suitable replacement in mind for the veteran signal caller.

Today, there will likely be a number of teams placing a claim on Orton (at 3:00 p.m. Central Lutefisk Time) and I think that the Vikings should be one of them.

According to PFT, the Vikings have $4.1 million in cap space.  Orton was paid a $1.5 million roster bonus by the Broncos and had a base salary of $7.379 for this year.  The team that claims Orton and his contract would be on the hook for roughly $2.4 million.

So the Vikings can afford it, does that mean they should do it?  I think so.

I think in evaluating a move like this one always has to consider the worst case scenario.  In this case, that scenario would be spending $2.4 million of Zygi Wilf’s cash for a few weeks of having Orton on the roster and then letting him leave in free agency, giving the team a chance at a compensatory pick in 2013.  Not too bad in my book, the Vikings have certainly made dumber choices.

The upside here is that they could better get to know a 29 year old quarterback that has been successful in the NFL and might be worth signing as potential competition for the young Christian Ponder.  After all, Donovan McNabb didn’t work out and when he leaves the Vikings will probably be in the market for a veteran quarterback anyways.

Additionally, this would prevent the suddenly quarterback needy Bears from obtaining the guy they threw away in the Cutler trade to try and limp into the playoffs.

According to PFT, the Vikings are fourth in the waiver order behind the Colts, Panthers, and Rams.  There is a chance that either the Colts (quarterback issues) or the Rams (Josh McDaniels connection) claim Orton, but I would call that an outside chance.

Plus, the reality is that the Vikings are really only carrying 2.5 quarterbacks on the roster anyways, with Joe Webb being tossed around like an old T-shirt doubling as a grease towel.  In a lost season, and with plenty of dead weight on the roster to cut, I don’t see the harm in carrying four quarterbacks into the offseason.

It wasn’t long ago that the Vikings were connected to Denver in trade rumors centering around Orton, so why not make the move now and see if the guy is a good fit or not?  I would.

UPDATE:  The Vikings didn’t subscribe to my train of thought and passed on the chance to claim Orton.  He is headed to Kansas City.  Chicago and Dallas reportedly were the other teams to submit waiver claims.