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Free Agent Quarterback Rankings

Hello, everyone.  Sorry for the absence, right after my latest comments/arguments in the previous thread karma came a knocking and a little something called influenza decided to have its way with me.

The plus side is that my Nyquil induced episode of Fear and Loathing provided ample thinking time about the upcoming free agency period and the Draft.  With the Draft still 100 days away (exactly) I decided I would spend the next few days taking a look at some of the names we can ready ourselves to see on the free agent market.

Up first are the quarterbacks and the rankings, while specific towards the Vikings, are my own and are certainly up for debate.  With both Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman singing Christian Ponder’s praises following this season, it seems unlikely that we can expect any huge moves towards a new starter, but the Wild Card round certainly proved we could use some competition at the backup spots.


The top tier of the quarterback free agency class includes only one name, and is sure to include zero by the time free agency actually rolls around.  Joe Flacco gets the top spot here, but his stock has never been higher after an improbable Divisional Round victory, and he will surely warrant the franchise tag at the very least.


My second tier are guys I think could provide us with a quality backup in a player that is either a somewhat reliable veteran or a relatively young guy that perhaps has some untapped potential.

2.  Matt Moore, MIA

3.  Josh Johnson, CLE

4.  Rex Grossman, WAS

5.  Jason Campbell, CHI


These guys represent guys that in no way should be expected to win a starting job, but could still be of some value as competition for a roster spot at the bottom of the depth chart, or at least as a somewhat decent camp arm.

6.  Tarvaris Jackson, BUF

7.  Tyler Thigpen, BUF

8.  Bruce Gradkowski, CIN

9.  Byron Leftwich, PIT

10.  Derek Anderson, CAR

11.  Chase Daniel, NO


These guys are guys that I couldn’t even begin to justify the Vikings signing, as they really represent no value to a rebuilding team and I simply believe are the true bottom of the barrel.

12.  Luke McCown, ATL

13.  Josh McCown, CHI

14.  Matt Leinart, OAK

15.  Brady Quinn, KC

16.  Jordan Palmer, JAC

17.  Drew Stanton, IND

18.  Kellen Clemens, STL

19.  Brian Hoyer, ARI

20.  David Carr, NYG

21.  Charlie Batch, PIT

What do you guys have to say?  Do any of these guys have a spot where they fit on the Minnesota Vikings moving forward?

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. You have to figure Thigpen will be a likely target since Spielman tried to bring him in before he signed with Buffalo. I kinda doubt he’ll find an opportunity to start like Buffalo presented him two years ago, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was back in Minnesota next year.

    1. Sound logic… Buffalo might flat out cut Fitzpatrick, too, he would certainly be an interesting free agent if he makes it to the open market late in the game.

      1. Freds thought you were over the Bearded Wonder AK? No?

        All kidding aside, your old pal would take Fitzwilly over any of the guys on the list you have on your list.

        Honestly Freds didn’t realize half these guys were still in the league.

        TJizzle at number 6? Good God man, you DID have the flu!

  2. that’s a lot of QBs. if the vikes bring in another qb, that choice should tell us something about how they feel toward ponder’s mental toughness. if one agrees that webb should go (i do), do they bring in a true competitor for ponder, implying that he’s tough enough to handle the challenge, or do they get a guy that won’t threaten ponder’s role at all, and is just purely an upgrade at the second qb spot, thereby protecting his confidence level and a weak psyche from said perceived threat

    in any case, i hope we get to see more of what mbt can do with his cannon, and to head off speculation here, i can’t see alex smith even being mentioned publicly as an option by the vikes, considering how they’ve spoken about ponder as ‘their guy’, and pledging to give him at least a three year chance at this thing

    1. I haven’t decided yet exactly how the Vikes will approach QB this offseason, cal, cut striking a balance between pushing Ponder but not shattering his confidence, like you say, seems likely to me.

      The Seahawks approach would only be mildly surprising to me, though.

  3. I agree that Thigpen will be high on Spielman’s list. Tyler also had to take a pay cut to stay on the Bill’s roster. I think he wii be affordable and will be happy to back up Ponder.

    My first choice is Matt Moore.. Thigpen at #2. Not really interested in anyone else.
    Both of these guys should be willing to accept a backup position behind Ponder yet could step in and win games for us if needed.

    1. gotta agree 100 % with that list..
      also I think he would get the system easily.. – plus Matt has shown he can be a backup / mentor kind of guy

  4. NI say this im a viking fan through and through first need to get rid of ponder i mean really how u going to let media talk boit how bad u play and then u shut them up by winning the vikings way into post season just to say hey i cant play bc i have a brusie elbow did ponder ever look at the great quarterbacks and see what some the guys played threw remember when we have farve in the championship game the man was hobbling on one leg hit after hit ponder has to have heart to heart to win at this level his press talk was terrible talking oh well we didnt win hope to be back here next year thats not always promising peterson feels he done great off his knee surgery but not to be one and done some one needs to make sure ponder has the heart of a champion to be a champion

    1. Ponder had a contusion in the tricep of his throwing arm. It wasn’t a pain tolerance issue, it was a “he literally can’t throw a football issue.” There are a lot of question marks on the guy right now, but don’t question the validity of that injury. A quarterback needs the muscles, joints, and bones in his throwing arm to be functioning to do his job. You can’t exactly fake being able to throw the football. The coaches saw he couldn’t put anything on the ball and deactivated him. It’s actually a positive sign that instead of pissing and moaning about it afterwards (like Jerome Simpson earlier in the year) he backed up his coaches and said he couldn’t throw the ball.

    2. I dislike ponder as much as anyone on here (except maybe tomb) but did you see his arm? He couldn’t throw a football. That said I agree when you said you don’t think ponder has a strong enough desire to win.

      1. well i actually maybe have to agree with those that says: Well Favre would’ve played..
        I think he would have.. But I also think he would have stunk the entire game, and thrown picks that would have decided the game

    3. The “All About Me” Fest that was Brett Favres 2009 campaign ended, essentially, on a play that should have been a five yard scramble to set up a field goal. Favre couldn’t run however because his, umm, toughness (stubbornness) meant he was still on the field even though he could barely walk. Instead of Jackson running for five yards, we get an across the body interception.

      Sometimes missing a game due to injury is about the team. No way Ponder should have played.

      1. agree 100 % Favre would’ve played with ponder injury, but it would just have been for the worse of the team, Ponder and the coaching staff made the right decision..
        Like shanahan and the redskins didn’t.. They should atleast have taken RG III out after that goal line play where he twisted his knee.

    4. In the list of things that people muster against Ponder, there is no bona fide reason to question his desire to win. None whatsoever. For every quote in a presser that you might not like, there are countless examples of his work ethic cited by players and coaches.

      1. where are these “countless examples of his work ethic cited by players and coaches”? i haven’t seen that. i’d like to see or hear that he’s ‘the first one in, last to leave’, ‘working extra time with his WRs’, etc., but haven’t

        1. Goes all the way back to the year he was drafted, Cal. And this past summer, all we heard about was how much he and Rudolph were working extra time, extra time with Simpson, etc. Favre didn’t even come in camp until there was a week to go. Questionable will to win?

          All I am saying is that you don’t need to act like Ray Lewis and yell like Tom Brady to have a strong will to win. Can you site even one example where anyone closely associated with Ponder has questioned his will to win? Not playing in that playoff game had nothing to do with a questionable will to win.

          1. missing that playoff game with that injury was understandable. his will to win is probably there, i just don’t hear about his work ethic being so strong

        1. Not sure what your point is, Skol, but yeah, I think Cutler has a pretty strong will to win.

          My point is that unless you are around someone a lot, you are not going to know his “will to win”. It can’t be measure by watching someone’s demeanor on the sidelines or their quotes in a press conference.

  5. Adam, sorry to hear of the influenza, hope you are back to 100%..
    First comment I will make is how sad to see David Carr at almost the very last place. Call me crazy, but I think if he hadn’t had such a poor O-line his first 3 years, he would have become a decent NFL QB. The guy guy led the league in sacks several times, I believe. Got the snot beat out of him from the very start. Call me even crazier, but if we are just looking for a 2nd to take over from Webb, I’d take Carr over alot of the names on your list, even in the upper tiers.
    SO I agree, the Vikings should go out and get a good 2nd and give Ponder the start for next season. If he under performs, we’ll know we’re screwed for the next 2-3 years at QB.
    There will be a lot of pressure for Ponder to perform, sure hope he’s up to it.

    1. I can’t back you up on the Carr support but i agree with Ponder having a lot of pressure, that’s why I first and foremost want a rookie that can pull a Russell Wilson, or of we do get a free agent get one like Matt Moore who has started and can pass for more than 200 yards in a game.

    2. Thanks Fran, I’m feeling better.

      Can’t really say there is much to like about Carr at this point in his career though, haha.

      1. Carr is 34. Plenty of time for him to mount his comeback. . .(Ok, quite a reach there, I’ll admit)
        I’d certainly take him over T. Jack or even Grossman.

  6. I have always liked Matt Moore but I personally would rather have a rookie drafted as none of these guys will ever challenge Ponder for a starting position. If we can get one of the top 7(please Tyler Bray!) I think he could challenge Ponder even next season.

    1. Do you think there is value in a veteran “mentor?” I would dare to say Ponder hasn’t really had one so far in his career and might benefit from one in his third season.

      1. I used to believe the veteran mentor worked but over the past few years i think its becoming less and less important. Also for Ponder i think it may be too late to have a mentor he’s started more games than most (all?) The guys on that list.

  7. As I see there are 2 guys that I would like Vikings to go after.
    1. Matt Moore, the guy is simple better that he gets credit for, and can get the job done as a backup and provides solid competition for the starting gig.
    2. Tyler Thigpen, not a bad QB as well as Spielman seems to like him.
    If I should throw in a 3rd guy and this will be a big surprise to all of you, but I would go with Matt Leinart.. He is very good when he doesn’t have to do too much reading of the field and with the heavy playaction and run based team I think he won’t be the worst fit, again this is my last choice.

    1. Might sound kinda crazy but if i was the vikings and need of good back up i would try to make a deal with seattle to get matt flynn what do other viking fans think good or bad

      1. I think we would give up too much if we want him as a backup.. He has a big contract for a back up (don’t see him redoing it for being backup another place) – and I think the pick / guys we would give up would be too expensive

  8. MBT, MBT, MBT! let’s see what he can do. he’s already here

    idk anything about mbt, if he’s accurate or mobile, can make reads, adjustments, is smart, has leadership qualities, is likable, nothing, except that i’ve seen that his arm is a frikken bazooka! maybe he’s a pos, but the vikes pay him and gave him a roster spot, so i assume he possibly has some good potential, and he will be given the opportunity to advance into the no. two qb role. ya can’t teach a guy to have a great arm

      1. well he has a hell of an arm..
        – showed “flashes” in the last preseason game against texans where he lit up the field with long TD passes to a couple of receivers, but he is still very very raw..
        Played good enough to outperform sage so that tells you something

      1. After watching that I’m kinda disappointed. For every nice throw there were 3 overthrown or thrown 2 yards out of bounds. That game tape would be okay in week 4 vs Houston but not vs their third string in preseason.

        1. not real accurate, some bad footwork. maybe he can eventually toss it for more than 100 yds per game every game, tho. prolly better than webb

            1. if ponder doesn’t improve and gets stuck in mediocrity, or qb purgatory like tjack did, i’ll call him pondurgatory, but we aren’t there yet

        2. As i said in the earlier comment.. he showed flashes.. there were some really nice passes, but there was a lot of bad passes as well. But I think it will be interesting to see next preseason..

            1. Just read that Adam….Absolutely crazy. Weird stuff, he would have to be either very gullible or he was in on it. Here’s hoping he’s gullible.
              Draft stock dropping.

              1. His girl isn’t DEAD? Really ? Is this true?


                Where there is smoke there is fire. If Man Tie Tilly would lie about this, well, then one would bet that his Hawaiian grandma also didn’t kack. In fact, after some exhaustive research, it’s true! This Kooks grandmammy is swinging it. She didn’t die either!!


            2. i think he’s full of it. i don’t blv the apology. watch it blow up in his face now

            3. Sounds like everyone is jumping on the “he was in on it” bandwagon. That would really surprise me, sounds more like this chick is a con artest. Reagan Mauia is now saying he knew this chick before Te-o did. Either way it’s going to hurt him. Worse case scenario he’s a liar, best case scenario a guy whose best attribute is his intelligence and instincts got duped big time. I thought this guy was going to slide before he played like crap in the national championship game, now this stuff is coming out. The only positive is he’s got plenty of time to tell his side of the story before the draft.

              1. really bizarre situation.. When I read the entire post the first time I thought the article was a joke, however this entire situation is really weird

    1. I’m not sure there should be a quarterback taken on the first day. One will be, probably 3 if i had to guess, but there isn’t a true first rounder this year.

      1. agree there is no sure true first rounder this year, but either Cardinals, Kansas, Jets or buffalo will proberly reach for their guy. Some times teams tend to reach for QBs you know?

  9. adam, whaddya think of new bears hc marc trestman? used to go to their family’s music store in mn. now we gotta root against him. read he’s kinda like martz, but more flexible, likes fast-paced passing game, and to expect better o-line play. hopefully a focus on offense will hurt their defense

    1. That sob is a traitor a Minnesotan coaching the Bears, that’s as bad as B.Grant routing for the Packers last week!
      I think he will be a good coach for Chicago. They are built to pass. He wouldn’t have been my first choice if I were a Bears fan but at least he’s not a chilly.

      1. idk anything about him, just what i’ve read, a low key guy

        can’t understand why childo hasn’t gotten another hc job since the vikes had him

        now poor ‘ol bud has no one to root for in the playoffs

        wouldn’t mind seeing ray lewis break something. like maybe his silence on murder

  10. Sorry guys. Apparently the flu wasn’t gone and it has really been a bitch of a week. Still not feeling well enough to look at a computer screen, to be honest. And the whole family has it, so yeah, fun times.

    I actually had the unique opportunity to talk football with Trestman about five years back on a couple of occasions.

    What I can tell you is he is very well spoken, heavy on evaluating talent for himself, and places a huge amount of emphasis on character. I thought getting rid of Lovie was a dubious move for Chicago, but Trestman might be able to get a lot more out of that offense.

    1. well good luck getting healthy. I’m missing my daily vikings fix on this site.
      But honestly not a lot has happen vikings wise the last couple of days, so better sick now that during the draft I guess?

    2. Adam,
      Sorry to hear bud, Hope you and the family feel better soon, Flu is really going around, So far so good here in this household…

    3. i’m sure you and your family will get that KAR going soon
      malte’s right, not a bad time, vikes-wise, to be quiet