The Vikings have a simple motivation for moving Joe Webb from quarterback to receiver. They want him to play.
“[W]e wanted to get him on the field rather than on Sundays having him stand on the sideline with me as a third quarterback or not dressed with the addition of Matt [Cassell] and Christian [Ponder] being our starter and this is a way to utilize his gifts so we wanted to take a look at it,” coach Leslie Frazier told reporters on Wednesday, via quotes distributed by the team.
“There are some things that Joe does very well, we’ve seen him put on a highlight show in some ball games.”
Eventually, the Vikings won’t just put Webb on the field; they’ll move him around on it. “Right now we have him in one spot but we do have ideas about some things we want to do with him beyond just lining him up at the X or the Z position,” Frazier said.
Still, the change will take plenty of work. “[O]ne of the toughest parts of the transition is just the route running part,” Frazier said. “He has very good hands, he knows the offense very well. He’s actually helping some of the young guys in where to line up. Just that he’ll be able to grasp the route running part of it fast enough to give himself the best chance to go out and really have a chance to make the transition smoothly when we get to training camp. Knowing how hard he works and knowing how much he wants to succeed as a receiver, he’ll have a very good chance of getting that done.”
Webb has a clear incentive to get it done. He’s changing positions in a contract year, which means he has limited time to prove his worth as a receiver after three NFL seasons at quarterback.