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Chutes and Ladders, with Sage Rosenfels

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Hey, you guys remember the game Chutes and Ladders, right? You know, the game where you roll some dice, move your backup quarterback game piece, and you might land on a square with a ladder, which takes you up, up, up towards the starting job finish and the Big Blue Ribbon. Or, you could land on a chute, where you tumble down, down, down, into the abyss of, well, nothing. I mean, it is an abyss, and all.

It's a perfect analogy for the career of Sage Rosenfels right now, don't you think?

Let's recap. At the conclusion of 2008, the Vikings were in a bit of a jam at quarterback. Tarvaris Jackson had struggled, Gus Frerotte committed the Mortal Sin of Speaking Ill of The Head Coach, and Brett Favre had retired. No really, he did.  Sage Rosenfels, toiling with the Houston Texans at the time, was their backup quarterback. He also doubled as a part time helicopter pilot ... minor ladder for the viral video. Call it the 4 up to 14 ladder. 

At the end of the 2008 season, the Vikings traded a fourth round draft pick for him. Yeah, you read that right. Fourth round draft pick ... for a guy that hadn't really done much of anything in the NFL. Decent ladder for that one. Oh, and he was set to compete with Jackson for the starting job heading in to the 2009 season. Another decent ladder.

As training camp continued, it looked like Jackson had gotten the edge on Rosie and had the inside track for a starting job. Minor chute. Then Brett Favre decided he wasn't going to retire, and Hard Luck Sage was relegated to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart. Ouch ... major chute, like 62 down to 19 bad.

But Sage, he handled the whole situation with a dignity not found too often in professional sports these days. And he made $3 million last season wearing a baseball hat and holding a clipboard. Not a bad gig if you can get it.  Big ladder, like 9 to 31.

But at the most recent mandatory minicamp, you know the one where Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson weren't at? Yeah, that one. He was seemingly pushed aside for sixth round uber athlete Joe Webb. Webb took most of the reps with the second team, and Rosie got pushed to the side, seemingly on the outside looking in. Big chute, say 49 down to 11.

I hope Sage isn't on a one way chute out of town. I never thought he was the long term answer for the Vikings at quarterback, but I do feel he deserves a shot if/when Favre retires.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.