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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Joe Webb’s quarterback history not playing a part in his evaluation

MANKATO, Minn. — As early as three months ago, Minnesota Vikings receiver Joe Webb still wasn’t sure what his position was after starting at quarterback in the Vikings’ playoff loss at Green Bay on Jan. 5.

After one preseason game, Webb played 12 snaps on offense with two receptions on three targets (11 yards) and coach Leslie Frazier said that’s how Webb’s evaluation will begin, as a receiver — with quarterback in his rear view mirror.

“Yeah, he’s mainly evaluated as a receiver and we’ll see how he comes along,” Frazier said. “We’ve just got to keep putting him out there and giving him opportunities both here at practice and in games, but he’s been evaluated as a wide receiver.”

Frazier said it’s too early to decide how many receivers the Vikings will keep on their 53-man roster, but as of Tuesday’s walkthrough, Webb and receiver Stephen Burton were slotted as the fifth and sixth guys on the depth chart.

“We’re undecided,” Frazier said. “We need to get some more games, some more stats, and see if there’s anyone deserving of being the fifth wide receiver or sixth wide receiver on our roster. I think it’s too early to say that guy is here.”

Webb once again is in transition mode — switching positions much like he did during his five years at the University of Alabama-Birmingham where he played both quarterback and receiver.

Former Vikings coach Brad Childress drafted Webb as a receiver, before switching the 6-foot-4, 220-pound physical specimen to quarterback after seeing him throw the ball at the conclusion of the team’s rookie minicamp in 2010.

Webb made three career starts at quarterback before Frazier made the decision to bring in veteran Matt Cassel this offseason and switch Webb once again.

“I’m always going to hold onto [being a quarterback],” Webb said. “You never know what’s going to happen. I say there’s an upside that I can continue to play quarterback too. Right now, my focus is on being a receiver.”

That’s not new to Webb, but what is new is special teams, where he’s playing as a gunner on coverage units as well as a front line blocker on kickoff returns.

“Joe [Webb] has been working extremely hard and it is all brand new to him,” Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “Obviously he has not done this before, especially at the NFL level and he is doing a great job in terms of learning.”

Webb, 26, has one year left on a rookie contract he signed as a sixth-round draft pick, with a base salary of $630,000 in 2013.

A well-documented team player, Webb said he doesn’t think about playing for a new contract, because he’s too focused on his new responsibilities.

“It’s crazy because in the game last Friday, I had to keep my head on a swivel, because you have to pay attention to the offense and also what special teams you on,” Webb said. “It’s a lot different. At quarterback, everyone trying to blow you up, at receiver and special teams, you have a chance to blow somebody else up. I say that’s the positive side about it.”

by Andrew Krammer

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