So, it looks like the Minnesota Vikings have some interest in former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. According to SportsIllustrated.com, Vikings head coach Brad Childress and vice president of personnel Rick Spielman. travelled to Florida last week and held a private workout on Saturday with the celebrated signal caller.
This is interesting news for Vikings fans, since perhaps the only Florida resident whose estimation in the sporting public’s mind has dropped more than Tebow’s is Tiger Woods (for quite different reasons, of course). After helping the Gators win the 2006 NCAA Championship and himself the 2007 Heisman Trophy, Tebow experienced a number of injuries throughout the rest of his collegiate career. He was a finalist for the 2009 Heisman Trophy, but since the time of his graduation, his stock as an NFL quarterback became the subject of much debate.
Perhaps the biggest road block to a prospective NFL career was the need to change his throwing motion for the pro game. While Tebow conducted a good pro day workout (that garnered him an invite to New York for the NFL Draft on April 22) to demonstrate his new delivery, the change does seem a little drastic–like Woods changing his swing after winning his first major tournament in 1997 in record fashion (okay, no more Tiger comparisons). Such a move takes an accomplished college quarterback and quickly turns him into a project.
SI’s Peter King says it’s hard to imagine the Vikings drafting Tebow with their 30th pick in the first round (and he would certainly be gone by the time the Vikings’ pick in the second round), but the club has a history of selecting players when other teams have passed on them for one reason or another: Randy Moss at 19 for his character, Adrian Peterson at 7 because of his injuries and Percy Harvin at 22 for his character.
In fact, the Childress sojourn to Florida is certainly reminiscent of his trip there last offseason to get a read on Harvin. Picking Tebow would reunite the two former Gators, and the pair did have some success playing catch with the football.
Even more, the pick might be the perfect prescription for the transition from Brett Favre now to Tebow in the future. That is, if Favre decides to return, which seems likely but is unconfirmed at this point. Perhaps Favre plays a couple more years and Tebow takes advantage of his tutelage until he retires. That scenario does leave Vikings quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels in limbo, just a bit, but that has been their lot so far in Minnesota. Jackson, as of this writing, has not signed his tender to return to the team (while Ryan Cook, Eric Frampton and Fred Evans have).
Regardless, the interest of the Vikings in Tebow is noteworthy. It says here that the team’s first round pick should be a player who can help them now as there are some holes to fill (depending upon players returning from injuries) in the defensive backfield, and the loss of Artis Hicks and Chester Taylor have not yet been addressed in free agency. But the team does need a quarterback of the future, just to keep pace in the division, alone, where all the other teams seemed to be set with one of their own.
Draft for need now, a quarterback for the foreseeable future or the best player available? With the Vikings interest in Tebow, draft day 2010 just got a little more interesting.