Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 8/15/12
MANKATO, Minn. Joe Webb's physical talents have always had the Minnesota Vikings' coaches wondering how to best utilize him in their offense. Two years and three training camps into his NFL career, Webb is still being groomed. But Minnesota's current set of coaches is sold on his potentialat quarterback. Now Webb needs to show the Vikings he is progressing as a quarterback. Following the 2011 season, Minnesota committed to Christian Ponder as the starting quarterback and said Webb will be the backup, dedicating two young players to the most important position on the team with each set in his role. No longer was Webb going to have his time split between quarterback and receiver. He was given a full offseason to develop as a quarterback. When Webb took over for Ponder early in the second quarter of last week's first preseason game, he looked more the raw athlete than polished quarterback. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave noted much of Webb's performance Friday, where he ended up leaving the pocket often, was due to breakdowns along the offensive line. "We know as quarterbacks sometimes you've got to throw when you can't step into it," Musgrave said Tuesday. "We're doing a bunch of drills this week to help Joe in that regard. I just think Joe will get better and better." Webb finished the game 4 for 11 passing for 20 yards and didn't complete a pass to a wide receiver. He had two carries for nine yards as well andshowed off the athleticism that has been his calling card. Yet, the Vikings have seen Webb's strengths as a runner and know he can be dangerous outside the pocket. The coaches want to see his improvement as a passer, in the pocket. "We know what Joe can do," Musgrave said. "We've got to make sure we can enhance Joe's limitations in the pocket. He doesn't have a lot of time on task playing quarterback in the pocket and we want to make sure that we don't just paint him into a corner where he can only do this. Joe's tall. He has a good release. We think he can be more effective in the pocket than he has been in the past." Webb has provided a spark at times the past two seasons with his athleticism, but it's mostly been as a runner, averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry. He has completed 57.9 percent of his 152 career passes. Last year, mainly coming off the bench after Ponder injuries, he was 34 for 63 passing for 376 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Working inside the pocket was a point of emphasis for the coaches with Ponder as well. To help the process, Minnesota tried to upgrade its offensive line during the offseason by drafting left tackle Matt Kalil No. 4 overall, moving last year's left tackle Charlie Johnson to left guard and changing right guards, where second-year player Brandon Fusco is likely to win the starting job. Ponder looked strong in the first preseason game behind the new-look offensive line. Webb didn't get the same chances, playing his snaps behind the second and third-team linemen. "It was an up and down performance," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Part of what he dealt with was, so many things so many guys in front of him were not able to do, and that affected some of the things he wanted to do at the quarterback position. We fully expect him to keep progressing at the quarterback position. He's probably the least experienced of all of our quarterbacks as far as playing the position over a long period of time. You just have to continue to let him get reps and let him development. Joe is a big play guy as we all know so he'll make his share of plays." Webb was drafted in the sixth round in 2010 out of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was the first player in NCAA history to throw for at least 2,000 yards and run for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. His athleticism was always the draw though. He spent his sophomore season in college as a receiver and, despite playing quarterback his final two years, the Vikings drafted him with the idea of moving him back to receiver. That was until then coach Brad Childress saw him thrown in training camp. Since then, Webb's had to deal with being alternated between receiver and quarterback. Webb feels he's improved this offseason since the Vikings told him he could concentrate solely on playing quarterback. "Just focusing on this one quarterback position instead of going back and forth, really got better," Webb said. "I think I improved from the past when I first came in. So I've still got a long ways to go though." And most of that work is becoming more confident in the pocket. "I'm still working on it," Webb said. "Day-by-day, just trying to get better each day. Progressing through my reads, sitting in the pocket when I need to sit in there and deliver the ball, and that time will come when I need to pull it down and run. So that's just my focus right now; just going to keep working on it." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Report: Police recommend criminal charges against LeSean McCoy

Heat interested in Kings’ 3-point specialist Omri Casspi

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge


Report: Danny Ainge 'excited' at chance to add Al Horford

Pat Haden collapsed on USC campus

Colts on Andrew Luck contract: ‘It’s going to be a shocking number’

GW basketball coach kicked out of daughter’s HS game

A-Rod is (inadvertently) hurting the Yankees

Report: CM Punk to have back surgery, UFC debut delayed

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

Top 11 story lines for the 2016 NFL offseason

Vince Carter: I’ll know when, but I’m not ready to retire

Bill Polian: Peyton Manning could 'immediately' be successful GM

Villanova Wildcats: The quietest No. 1 team ever

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker