2 Detroit Lions QBs Have a Connection with Vikings

Oct 25, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is pressured by Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are forecasted to win the NFC North in the upcoming season, a feat they have never accomplished in the 21 years of the division’s existence. Their last division win was in 1993 in the NFC Central, a division that featured the four current NFC North teams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barry Sanders was the running back of the 1993 Lions. They were bounced in the wild-card round by the Green Bay Packers.

2 Detroit Lions QBs Have a Connection with Vikings

Have a Connection With Vikings
Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The team was quarterbacked by three different guys: Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer, and Andre Ware. Peete opened the season as the starter, starting ten games but only 6 TDs and 14 INTs was too much to remain the signal caller. Kramer ended up starting the postseason game and threw a devastating interception. The Vikings, meanwhile, dropped from 11-5 in the previous season to 9-7 in 1993 in the second season under head coach Dennis Green, splitting the season series with the Lions.

Struggling quarterback play has not been an issue in Detroit for years, as Matthew Stafford was one of the better QBs in the league for a decade. While he wasn’t perfect, the franchise held him back quite a bit. Jared Goff came in as trade compensation for Stafford and turned into a solid QB in his own right.

Goff is the starter in 2023, but his backup will be a different guy, although last year’s backup Nate Sudfled is still on the roster. Teddy Bridgewater was signed roughly a couple of weeks after visiting the NFC North franchise.

Dec 20, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Louisville star Bridgewater, of course, is a former Vikings first-round pick. Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer thought they had found their franchise quarterback with the 32nd overall pick in the first draft after Zimmer’ ‘s employment. The passer had everything the head coach wanted. He was a tough and mature player, even at a young age, who didn’t turn the ball over and did exactly what he was told to do.

Zimmer’s defense carried the team, and he needed his QB to be a game-manager. And Bridgewater was perfect for that job. He played a couple of seasons with the Vikings, and many expected his breakout in Year Three, but it has never happened. An ugly knee injury cost him the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, but fortunately, not his whole career. Regardless, the Vikings moved on to Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, and ultimately Kirk Cousins, while Bridgewater joined various teams throughout his career, some as a starter, but most of them as a backup.

PurplePTSD: Teddy Time, Bears Preview, Cine's Surgery
Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (right) celebrates after the NFC Divisional Playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Fan favorite Bridgewater passed for 6,150 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions in his four seasons in Minnesota, starting 28 games. The Lions have a similar QB structure as the Vikings. There is the solid veteran starter Goff/Cousins, the experienced backup Bridgewater/Mullens, and the rookie project Hooker/Hall.

While the Vikings waited until the fifth round to select Jaren Hall, the Lions made the move in the third for Hendon Hooker. The former Tennessee star passer was linked to the Vikings in the pre-draft process and was ultimately chosen with draft capital that belonged to the purple team.

A New Vikings QB Would Start the Clock
Nov 27, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) runs with the ball during the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit used the Vikings’ second-round pick from the T.J. Hockenson exchange, traded down twice, and selected Hendon Hooker with the 68th pick. Receiving some first-round buzz leading up to the draft, Hooker tumbled because of some issues. He is already 25 years old (just like Jaren Hall), is coming off a torn ACL, and played in an extremely QB-friendly offense with a ton of simple reads.

Still, he also has some intriguing tools, like excellent athleticism and solid accuracy. Only 5 interceptions and 58 passing touchdowns in the last two seasons are exciting numbers, especially paired with 10 rushing touchdowns. If he turns into a franchise quarterback, the Vikings will not be happy, but if he turns into a backup or worse, the Lions might regret sending a dynamic tight end to a division rival. Hooker has the luxury to redshirt his rookie season behind the two veterans.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt