The stadium has fallen apart, the team has played a "home" game in Detroit, and will play their next home game outdoors in a stadium that holds about 15,000 fewer people than the stadium they're used to. Add in the fact that all three of the quarterbacks currently on the roster are injured, and they're bringing in quarterbacks off the street to, potentially, audition for the opportunity to start a Monday night game in prime time in front of the entire country in just six days.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2010 Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings are currently bringing in street free agents to potentially come in and play quarterback for them this Monday against the Bears. Some of the names that have been bandied about. . .with varying levels of believability and/or confirmation. . .are former first-round draft pick Patrick Ramsey, former colossal draft bust JaMarcus Russell, and a veritable cavalcade of has-beens and never-will-bes.
Forget all that. Leslie Frazier, Zygi Wilf, Rick Spielman, if you're out there reading this, I have the answer to your quarterback dilemma. Actually, I have five answers to your quarterback dilemma. In all likelihood, they would all end up better than Patrick Ramsey, JaMarcus Russell, or whoever else you're going to dig up between now and Monday. I'll start with the most obvious answer.
1) Fran Tarkenton
Hear me out here for a moment. The centerpiece of Monday night's game against the Bears. . .since the on-field action could get rather ugly rather quickly. . .is going to be a ceremony honoring the Top Fifty Minnesota Vikings in history. So Tarkenton is already going to be there. The last time I checked, number 10 had been retired in his honor, so he's already got a jersey number reserved. The weather is going to be bitterly cold in Minneapolis on Monday night for the Vikings' first outdoor home game since December 20, 1981. Of course, those are the sorts of conditions that Fran the Man quarterbacked in his entire career.
Honestly, who's better suited to take over the Vikings on this most historical of occasions than their most historical of players?
Okay, so you don't like that idea. That's fine, I can respect that. How about we move on to somebody a little bit younger.
2) Jeff George
Alright, since Len Pasquarelli hasn't seen fit to pump out his annual "Jeff George is still available" article for whatever football entity he's working for now, I'll take up the torch for him.
Uncle Rico Jeff George is still, by all accounts, in football shape. . .or, at least, that's what he'll apparently tell anybody that's willing to listen. Sure, I know you'll tell me that he was a colossal flop in pretty much every city he played in, and for the most part you would be correct. But there was one place where he actually looked like a real, honest-to-God NFL quarterback.
You guessed it. . .Minnesota.
In 1999, he replaced a guy that was coming off of an MVP-caliber season the year before, took over a team that was struggling to move the ball, and had limped to a 2-4 record. He took that team, got them all the way to 10-6 and a first-round playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys, pulling the season out of the fire in the process. Now, in 2010, he has the opportunity to take over for a guy coming off of an MVP-caliber season the year before, has limped to a 5-8 record, and. . .well, that's sort of where the similarities end, I guess. Sure, he might still be a surly, whining cry baby prima donna. You know something? The entire season has been a dumpster fire to this point. Why not just pour a little kerosene on there while we're at it?
Okay, fine. . .you don't like that idea, either. Maybe I should have presented this one earlier, but here it goes.
3) Daunte Culpepper
I'm sorry, I know there's no chance of this one happening. I just wanted to see whether or not I could blow your mind with that particular suggestion. It appears that I did not.
So let's move along to my next suggestion. I probably should have tossed this one out there sooner, but what would you say to. . .
4) Joe Mauer
Back in 2006, the first year of the Brad Childress era when Vikings fans had to watch Brad Johnson masquerade as an NFL quarterback for 14 games, it was often joked that the best quarterback in the state of Minnesota at that point in time was Joe Mauer. To be honest, it may have been a valid point. . .after all, Mauer wasn't that far removed from leading Cretin-Derham Hall to a state championship in football and getting himself a scholarship to go and play quarterback for Bobby Bowden down at Florida State University. Of course, the Twins grabbed him with the first overall pick in the baseball draft, and he decided to skip the college football experience by pursuing a career in baseball.
The Vikings need to generate a little bit of excitement, and letting everyone know that Minnesota's favorite son was starting at quarterback this Monday certainly would do that, that's for sure. So what are you waiting for? Get him on the phone and. . .
What's that? Mauer's new contract has a clause in it that says he can't play football? Well played, Mauer. . .well played.
Well, then, I guess that brings me to my final option. This one is a little bit off the beaten path, but work with me here.
5) Shane Falco
You think I'm joking with this one? Hello. . .he was in a movie called The Replacements. He was in that movie as a quarterback. A quarterback that led his team to victories with a rag tag bunch of characters. For crying out loud, his name is Shane Falco. . .do you know how many Falco jerseys you could sell in the next few weeks? The obvious "Rock Me, Amadeus" tie-in not withstanding, where else are you going to find a quarterback that has moves like these?
Oh, right. . .if you saw Falco in that video, you know we already have a quarterback with moves like that. He took the majority of snaps on Monday night against the Giants.
Alright, fine then. . .bring in your Patrick Ramseys and your JaMarcus Russells and whoever else you're going to schlep in here. But don't say were here at SB Nation Minnesota didn't at least try to help a little bit.