Ryan Mallett could present an interesting answer to the Vikings’ quarterback woes, writes ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling in a recent mailbag. Mallett, a third-round pick of the Patriots in 2011, has thrown all of four passes while acting as Tom Brady‘s backup, but is noted for his tremendous arm strength. New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s former team, the Bengals, were linked to Mallett leading up to the 2011 draft. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s former employer, the Browns, reportedly kicked the tires on acquiring Mallett before the 2013 season. Additionally, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been down this road before, having turned former backup quarterback Matt Cassel (interestingly, now a Viking) into a Chiefs second-round pick before the 2009 season. Unlike Mallett however, Cassel had a season’s worth of experience, having lead the Patriots to a 10-5 record in 2008.
Some other Vikings tidbits from Goessling’s mailbag:
- Brian Hoyer is another quarterback who could be linked to the Vikings, due to his success with the Browns last season under Turner’s tutelage. However, the Vikings are likely to look for a younger option at the position to pair with Cassel.
- The relationship between the Vikings and quarterback Josh Freeman was contentious enough that it is doubtful he will return next season. Signed after his release from the Buccaneers, Freeman struggled mightily in his only start. His accuracy and footwork remained a problem throughout practices, and Freeman was also confused by his lack of opportunity.
- Goessling expects the Vikings to make a run at cornerback Alterraun Verner, who has experience with new Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray (who previously served as Titans defensive coordinator). The Vikings are expected to have over $20MM in cap space, so they afford to make a big move in free agency.