Friday, February 27, 2009

Welcome, Sage Rosenfels!

It's official -- Sage Rosenfels is a Minnesota Viking, and a reasonably well-paid one as well, after agreeing to a two-year, $9 million contract with the team following a trade with Houston that sent the Vikings' fourth-round pick to the Texans.

Reaction from Vikings fans seem to be generally positive, though I still caution against thinking that Rosenfels is some savior, and that he's a significant upgrade over Tarvaris Jackson. He's definitely a different style of quarterback than Jackson, but saying he's "better" overall simply ignores his deficiencies -- most notably his relative immobility and propensity for turnovers -- while lambasting Jackson who makes fewer mistakes but looks "worse" doing it.

That said, Rosenfels probably is a better overall QB than Jackson, but this isn't like replacing Ryan Leaf with Peyton Manning. Jackson's not the worst QB in the world, no matter how he looks, and Rosenfels isn't spectacular, despite his big arm. Still, with no other major free-agent acquisitions on the horizon for the Vikings, sending a middle-round pick and spending $4.5 million a year over two years on a guy who might be a good QB (and at the least is a better backup plan than Gus Frerotte) is a decent deal. Fact of the matter is, there wasn't an elite quarterback available, and Rosenfels likely represents one of the better options.

The best-case scenario for the Vikings is that Rosenfels turns into a latter-day Rich Gannon, another QB who got only occasional chances to start the first part of his career, showed equal parts promise and poorness, and, in his mid-30s, found the right team and right place to blossom as a star player in the latter years of his career. Rosenfels turns 31 next week, while Gannon was 33 when he finally secured a starting job with the Oakland Raiders in 1999, going on to have four straight excellent seasons with the silver-and-black. If we could get four seasons of stellar -- heck, I'll settle for "steady" -- play from Rosenfels, I'd consider it a success.

Right now, nobody knows exactly what we'll get from Rosenfels, and we won't know that until the games start up in September. Now that he can rely on his running game and defense to help him win games, he could develop into a dependable QB, and he might even have the talent to sniff the Pro Bowl. All this depends on whether he can reign in the bad plays, however, avoid the crazy mistakes -- oh, and beat out Jackson in training camp, which might be harder than it appears. This one ain't decided yet, folks.

1 comment:

DC said...

Jason:

Good points regarding not viewing Rosenfels as the messiah – although I haven't read any comments from Viking fans suggesting they think he is. I think most of us recognize Rosenfels for what he is – potentially a good upgrade but also potentially a younger Gus Frerotte.