Vikings-related speculation started following this tweet by ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
Shortly thereafter, CBSSports.com's Andy Benoit endorsed the concept of Minnesota employing Orton as a "bridge quarterback" -- a role similar to the one he played in Chicago for Rex Grossman and here in regard to Tim Tebow.
Of course, Orton has never thought of himself as a stopgap guy. He wants to be someone's number one QB for the long haul....
Meanwhile, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora believes the Broncos might keep Orton, either as a starter or a Tebow backup, if other teams don't pony up at least a second-round pick.
Could that be why the Arizona Cardinals, who reportedly contacted the Broncos about Orton a few weeks ago, are no longer being mentioned as a player in this particular QB derby? No telling at this point -- but Bleacher Report's Rob Sirpless doesn't think the Vikes would pay so steep a price after having just chosen Florida State's Christian Ponder in the first round of the recent NFL draft.
"Anyone who believes that No. 12 overall pick Christian Ponder isn't going to be starting at some point during next season should rethink things," Sirpless writes. "What is the first thing we know about [head coach] Leslie Frazier? He likes how Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan all started from day one."
All of which makes the Dolphins a more likely landing site for Orton. But don't be surprised if other franchises are mentioned in this context in the weeks and months to come. With the NFL labor situation still in limbo, the Broncos won't trade Orton prematurely. Instead, they'll wait for his value to increase -- with the biggest boost coming the moment the prospect of meaningful games inspires exclamation points rather than a question marks.
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