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Badgers in the NFL: Joel Stave, Vikings Q&A with Daily Norseman

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With Taylor Heinicke’s injury, could this be an opening for Wisconsin’s winningest quarterback?

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Former Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave owns the school’s all-time record for wins at quarterback (31). Now, he’ll work to try to make an NFL roster, as he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings. Stave, the former walk-on who holds the school record for 200-yard games in a career (18), will compete with Shaun Hill and Taylor Heinicke to back-up incumbent Teddy Bridgewater.

To help us break down Stave’s chances to make an NFL roster, especially with the news of Heinicke placed on the non-football injury list, is Christopher Gates from the Daily Norsemen.

B5Q: What have you heard/seen about Stave's performance during Vikings OTAs?

CG: To be honest, I didn't hear a whole lot about Stave's performance during the OTAs and mini-camp. With most teams only allowing access to about one-third of those practices, there really wasn't a whole lot of information that leaked out. With all due respect to Stave, he was the No. 4 quarterback on the team at that time, and didn't get a whole lot of ink. However, that could change based on something we found out last week.

Obviously, Teddy Bridgewater is the starter. What can we make of Stave's chances against the likes of backup quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Taylor Heinicke?

Heinicke showed up to camp with his left foot in a cast after trying to help a friend break into his own apartment. I'm not sure if Stave has a chance to unseat Hill, as the Vikings probably want to have a veteran "mentor" type behind Bridgewater, and before this new development, I'm not sure how much of a shot he would have had against Heinicke, either. The Vikings signed Heinicke as an undrafted free agent last season and thought highly enough of him to keep him on the roster all season. However, with this foot injury being a significant development, it would almost guarantee Stave a chance to stay on as the No. 3 quarterback if he shows any sort of promise during camp.

In Norv Turner's offense, what do you think Stave can excel at?

Turner's offense relies a lot on deeper routes from the wide receivers, and has since his days in Dallas in the early ‘90s. Though Stave is down the depth chart at this point, there's a pretty good chance that he has the best arm of all the quarterbacks in camp, at least as far as pure arm strength is concerned. Having played in a run-heavy, pro-style offense at Wisconsin, he's probably well-versed in the play-action game and could take advantage of some of the openings that a run game like Minnesota's would provide him. Everything I've seen about him says that he's a pretty smart guy as well, and if he wants to overtake a guy like Heinicke that already has a year in the system, he's going to have to be a quick study.

Prediction time: Do you believe Joel can make the Vikings' opening day active roster, and do you think he will?

Before this injury situation with Heinicke came up, I would have put the figure at somewhere around 25 percent, and possibly lower than that. With Heinicke can't go for a significant length of time, however, the No. 3 quarterback spot for this team could be Stave's to lose. There has been some scuttlebutt about the Vikings potentially sniffing around Nick Foles, but I don't think that would affect Stave's chances of making the team, since I think Foles would be more likely to replace Hill as the backup than he would be to serve as the No. 3 quarterback.