EAGAN, Minn. - In the summer of 2006 I was standing on a towel in my bathing suit, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a water park in central Wisconsin when my phone rang.
Keep in mind that this was a year before the iPhone was released and the novelty of somebody actually calling my flip phone was so great that I actually answered the call, something we all know would never happen today. On the other end was Brad Anderson, then head football coach at Wayzata High School, who asked me out of the blue if I would have any interest in joining his staff. Long story short, I did... and spent the better part of the next decade as a volunteer assistant with the Trojans.
When I first started coaching I believed I knew a lot about football, but It took just minutes in my first practice to realize how much there was to learn. One of the things I learned for sure is, unless you’re among the inner circle, you don’t know what’s 'really' going on with any football team. The same could likely be said for any team in any sport, but for our purposes let’s stick with football.
In 2008 Wayzata steamrolled their way to a 13-0 record and the Minnesota Class 5A State Championship. Along the way we outscored our opponents by a cumulative score of 544-101. I say this not to rub it in, but because immediately after we won the Prep Bowl a parent made a point of coming up and informing me that we had started the wrong quarterback all season.
The story I just shared provides a perfect jump-off point to the current saga of who will quarterback the Minnesota Vikings in 2018-19. Everybody knew that the Minnesota Vikings Quarterback position was murky at best heading into this off-season, and while I’m not sure if recent reports that the team is not going to use the Franchise Tag on Case Keenum, or whether or not Teddy Bridgewater’s contract is going to toll or not gives us any clarity, I do know that we should listen when Vikings Rick Spielman asks us to trust the process.
No matter what we saw of Case on the field, and no matter how hard we may have pulled for Teddy or Sam to bounce back from their respective injuries, we have to understand this: Football is a business. Nobody understands that business better than the folks who are currently prepping for the scouting combine while at the same preparing to swap their offices at Winter Park for the brand new Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman said this week that the team’s first order of business was to hire an offensive coordinator, which they did with John DeFilippo. Then came the return of Todd Downing as the team’s senior offensive assistant. Both of these guys will add their own perspective and opinions to information the team has already accumulated on the three in-house candidates (Keenum, Bridgewater and Bradford) by watching them, basically side-by-side, for the past year. Next comes the scouting combine and free-agency. This organization has had a full year to evaluate the three signal callers currently on while also compiling information on Kirk Cousins, the draft class of 2018, and free-agent or trade possibilities.
While many of us like to play GM or talent scout, it’s their 'job'... and they do it every day. You may have won your Fantasy football league for the 3rd year in a row, and the guy who came to fix your hot water heater may have a 'hot-take' on the QB situation via the local sports talk radio station. Heck, maybe there’s even a former volunteer high school coach who just started writing an opinion column who’s sure he knows what the Vikings should do at the most important position in team sports. Whatever the case, the best bet is to let the process play out, and trust that the Vikings will get it right.
They'd better... an army of armchair experts is watching.