Despite what internet rumors might recite repeatedly, the Minnesota Vikings are not in the market for a quarterback. Well, a QB1 anyway. Kirk Cousins occupies that job, holding down the Vikings signal-caller duties since the beginning of 2018. In that timeframe, Cousins has tossed the fifth-most touchdowns (91) and registered the league’s seventh-best passer rating (103.6) leaguewide.
Not too shabby for a quarterback that is rotated in an incessant spin cycle of trade rumors.
Barring a shock-trade, Cousins will be the Vikings starting quarterback in 2021 – and probably in 2022, too, unless the team encounters an underwhelming 2021 campaign. Should that come to fruition, fasten a seatbelt because wholesale change will impact Eagan, Minnesota.
So when CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin nonchalantly listed the Vikings as a possible destination for Teddy Bridgewater, the Nick Young confusion memes surfaced. What do the Vikings need from Teddy Bridgewater?
Benjamin did not opine on the reasoning behind a Minnesota-Bridgewater reunion, but the Vikings are indeed listed as a probable landing spot along with the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.
Would general manager Rick Spielman entertain Bridgewater’s return to the 2021 team?
More on CBS Sports’ Assertion
In Benjamin’s analysis, he speculates that 10 veteran quarterbacks might be on the move if rumors pan out. Obviously, 10 such players will not be traded in mass fashion, so consider Benjamin’s work hypothetical brainstorming.
On Bridgewater, he wrote:
“It’s fitting that he’s right behind Garoppolo, because their profiles are alarmingly similar. While Jimmy has been more prolific when healthy, both QBs have had major injury issues, thrived on high-percentage throws and generally settled into “serviceable but not elite” territory. Bridgewater is a good locker-room presence who can capitalize with a good supporting cast, but he needs lots of help.”
Again, CBS Sports makes no mention of Bridgewater’s role for the Vikings. Perhaps Minnesota would excavate out from Cousins’ sizable contract. Maybe the Panthers outright release Bridgewater, swallowing a gargantuan cap hit.
Without context, Benjamin’s prognostication would make quasi-sense if Bridgewater joined Minnesota on a dinker deal with the Vikings — upgrading the QB2 spot.
Bridgewater at QB2 on a Tiny Deal?
Now, this – is astute general management. If Bridgewater is released (a longshot because of his dead cap hit to Carolina’s budget) or if he is traded and then waived by a different team, bringing Bridgewater home is full-circle thinking.
Sean Mannion was the Vikings backup quarterback for the last two seasons. That’s right – the man who has never thrown a single NFL touchdown pass. Cousins has not required a backup quarterback at all in his career as he has never missed a game to injury. In fact, Cousins, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady are the only signal-callers to miss zero games due to injury since the start of 2012 (although Brady was suspended and Cousins was held out of a 2019 game for playoff-formality purposes).
The Vikings are in good hands with Cousins at the helm in terms of durability. But if he did miss time to injury, Bridgewater would be a wonderful reservist option.
Vikings Do Not Have the Infrastructure for QB1 Bridgewater
If Benjamin did not mean Bridgewater would be a backup, well, things get weird. Would the Vikings really mail it in on Cousins in favor of a nostalgic quarterback like Bridgewater? The guy that, to date, has a 15-touchdown-per-year ceiling? Boy, that would be strange.
There was a time a half-decade ago when Minnesota could skate having a prolific thrower of the football. This was evidenced in 2015 when the Vikings came within a missed field goal of a winning playoff game. Yet, that team had a robust, emergent defense. Minnesota’s 2020 defense was lousy and a cosmic departure from any Zimmer-led defense between 2014 and 2019.
For the sake of argument, let’s spitball the notion that Spielman is quietly fed up with Cousins and eager to start a new chapter at QB1. He wouldn’t turn to a player that throws 15 touchdowns per year – not with a defense trying to escape the odor of 2020. Minnesota ranked 29th in the NFL in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed last season. Auditioning Bridgewater for a QB1 gig when the defense is in “maybe they will return to form” limbo is unbecoming of a franchise yearning to win now.
But, hey, if CBS Sports’ vision is to teleport Bridgewater back to the glory days of 2015, the Vikings should seize Teddy for QB2 at a teensy price tag. Bridgewater has the DNA to be one of the league’s best QB2s. Most Vikings enthusiasts would ink that transaction in a heartbeat.