Q&A with Vikings Rookie QB Joe Webb

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When Vikings QB Joe Webb exploded for a 48-yard touchdown run in a preseason game against the 49ers on August 22, he immediately entered into the consciousness of Vikings fans everywhere. After a 41-yard scamper and 63-yard TD pass versus Denver two weeks later, they became infatuated.

With the preseason ancient history however, Webb has settled into the quiet routine of a 3rd string signal caller: wearing a baseball hat, holding a clipboard and having the prettiest uniform on the team. That doesn’t mean the fans have forgotten him. Following the Vikings 28-24 loss to the Packers last month, the Star Tribune conducted an on-line poll asking “Who should start at QB on Sunday (vs. New England)?”. Webb actually outpolled Brett Favre 24.3% to 21.3%.

Webb, a 6th round draft pick in April out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, chatted with me about his rookie season earlier in the week at Winter Park.

DZ: You grew up in Birmingham and went to college there and now you’re up here in Minnesota, which is about as opposite as it can get. What has that experience been like?

WEBB: It’s different, way different from being down south in Alabama – just getting used to the different style here, getting used to the weather, the food – it’s a whole lot different than being down south, but I am getting used to it and I am enjoying it.

DZ: What did you know about Minnesota before you got up here?

WEBB: The only thing I knew was the Vikings; I didn’t know too much – just all the pro teams, like the Timberwolves and Vikings.

DZ: The cold – I am sure you heard about that.

WEBB: Yeah, I heard you get a couple inches of snow.

DZ: Obviously this team has been in the news a lot this year for a variety of reasons, do you get a lot of calls from people back home asking “What’s going on up there?”

WEBB: Yeah, I get that a lot. I just tell them that I know just as much as they know. You leave practice then you watch ESPN and you see something that you didn’t know that was going on. I get that a lot.

DZ: You didn’t get invited to the big draft combine in Indianapolis this year, were you disappointed about that?

WEBB: Not really because I knew I would be able to showcase my ability at pro day (at UAB).

DZ: Do you think it was because you were from a small school and they overlooked you?

WEBB: Yeah, I guess you could look at it like that. (Being) from a smaller school, we didn’t get as much exposure as other schools did. I still had to take advantage of my opportunity.

DZ: In college you were a quarterback, then you get drafted as a wide receiver, you do a little minicamp at wide receiver, then they like your arm so much that you are a quarterback again. What’s that all been like?

WEBB: I am a team player, so whatever the coaches need me to do, I do anything to help the team win. It’s been crazy, but I always knew I was a quarterback, but I was just trying to do whatever it took to get in the door.

DZ: Would you be open to playing different positions to get on the field and use your athletic ability?

WEBB: I am just taking it slow right now, being patient and learning as much as I can – just working toward my future.

DZ: What’s game day like for a 3rd string quarterback?

WEBB: I treat it like I might have a chance to play. Game day is always exciting no matter if you’re first string, second string or third string. Game day and the whole atmosphere is always exciting. Just to be there and to share that moment with the other guys on this team is a special time.

DZ: When they have discussions on the sidelines about the offense or are just looking at the pictures and everything, do get over there and try to pick up a few things?

WEBB: Yeah, I always stay involved and keep up with what’s on the field when Brett is on the field so if I see anything, I let him know what I see. You have to always stay involved in the game.

DZ: Tarvaris Jackson comes from similar circumstances to you, coming up from down south, from a smaller school and playing quarterback. Has he been able to help you out at all?

WEBB: Yeah, he’s helped out a lot. He’s one guy I can relate to, being from the same area I am from. I just try to tag along with him, learn the ropes of this new league that I am in and learn as much as I can from him.

DZ: One last thing, did you see the poll they ran in the Star Tribune a couple of weeks ago, you got a lot of support from the fans to be the starting quarterback?

WEBB: People told me about it, but I didn’t pay any attention to it.

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