Vikings’ Next Opponent Is a Cautionary Tale

The Vikings Can’t Let Justin Fields Hurt(s) Them
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When the Minnesota Vikings host the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, playing in primetime for the second straight week, they’ll have a front-row seat to a less-than-ideal future. Quarterback uncertainty has loomed large for the purple over the past few seasons, but decision time is coming.

Vikings’ Next Opponent Is a Cautionary Tale

Early this season, the Vikings seemed to send a straightforward message to general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. This team didn’t look interested in competing, and with veteran Kirk Cousins under center on an expiring deal, there was little reason to play out the string, hoping for better results. Needing an optimal draft spot for a good quarterback class, finding the next franchise arm was a must.

Opponent Is a Cautionary
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Fast forward to where we are now, and not only has Cousins been lost for the season, but the position has been rejuvenated by a journeyman backup. With quality options around him, Josh Dobbs immediately stepped in and made an impact. He was acquired for peanuts, and while not praised as a top-tier option, he has used mobility and intelligence to push Minnesota back into playoff contention.

There is no change coming for Cousins this season. Following his Achilles tear, the Vikings Week 1 starter will miss the rest of the season and work through the offseason on a plan to be ready for 2024. He isn’t under contract for next year, and being a free agent means he could engage other teams for his services. Cousins has publicly stated a desire to remain a two-team quarterback and stay with the Vikings for the rest of his days. The asking price will show how serious he is about that, but Minnesota will need to question whether they call his bluff.

Of course, Dobbs could be kept for much less but will likely be paid as the top backup throughout the league. If the Vikings want to draft their heir apparent, they’ll only need to look across the field on Monday night to see how that may go. Chicago used a top pick on Justin Fields, and it has gone anything other than well. There have been multiple situations where it has looked necessary to move on, and his scrambling ability has also led to an inability to stay healthy.

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The Bears did flip their 2023 NFL Draft pick to the Carolina Panthers with their eyes on stacking assets for 2024, but it remains to be seen if they will pass up an opportunity to take another quarterback. The fact that they would use that level of draft capital on a passer with Fields already on the roster is damning in and of itself, but getting it wrong again is a possibility as well.

Carolina jumped up to take Bryce Young, and despite having lackluster options around him, he has looked lightyears behind the second quarterback taken. C.J. Stroud has quickly settled in for the Houston Texans, and while they are not a juggernaut by any means, he looks to have the staying power of a legitimate quarterback in this league.

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Minnesota can take some solace in a deep quarterback draft. Caleb Williams is expected to go first, with Drake Maye not far behind. Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., Jayden Daniels, Jordan Travis, and a host of others should be available. If the Vikings want to invest in the position again, they shouldn’t wait until the fifth round for a project like Jaren Hall to fall to them.

No matter how the front office blueprints this offseason, believing they’ll know exactly which quarterback should be theirs and being right about it, there remains a wide gap. The Bears are living proof of that reality, giving Minnesota another chance to take advantage this week.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.