Former Vikings QB Tearing up USFL

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No, it’s not Kyle Sloter. That was last year.

Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson is playing ‘the Sloter role’ this season in the USFL, guiding the New Orleans Breakers to a 4-0 record out of the gate in 2023.

Former Vikings QB Tearing up USFL

Ironically, the Breakers were led by the aforementioned Sloter in 2022, when he tore up the USFL as well. But now Sloter is a backup quarterback for the Birmingham Stallions. Life comes at you fast in the USFL, evidently.

Vikings QB Tearing up
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Bethel-Thompson, 34, became a Viking in 2012, signing a futures contract that January mere days after the club finished 2011 with an awful 3-13 record. He authored a successful summer in 2012, ousting Sage Rosenfels from the QB3 job and making the 53-man roster. But it didn’t last too long, as Bethel-Thompson was the odd man out when Minnesota signed on for the ill-fated Josh Freeman experiment 14 months later. He served as the backup to Christian Ponder and Joe Webb in 2012, Adrian Peterson’s MVP season.

After his release in 2013, Bethel-Thompson bounced around to the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots before landing back with the Vikings in September 2014. He lived on the team’s practice squad for a couple of weeks and was released for good in October 2014.

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Bethel-Thompson would latch onto the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, becoming a total stud north of the border. The Argonauts won two Grey Cups — the CFL Super Bowl — with him on the roster.

After six seasons in the CFL, the Sacramento State alumnus tried on the USFL for size, and through four games, he leads the league in passing yards with 1,116 and 6 touchdown passes. His passing-yards mark leads another former Viking, Case Cookus, by 194. Cookus ‘played’ for the Vikings in the summer of 2021 — for three days.

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Last week, Bethel-Thompson was asked about his ability to play QB1 in the USFL at age 34, and he affirmed his commitment to longevity, “I truly do at this point. I know that’s probably terrifying for my wife to hear, probably terrifying for my daughter to hear, but I feel healthy. I feel strong.”

Bethel-Thompson has never thrown an NFL pass in the regular season.

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The Breakers are coached by a name familiar to Vikings fans — John DeFilippo. The Vikings hired DeFilippo as offensive coordinator in 2018, a relationship that lasted about seven months.

Bethel-Thompson and DeFillipo’s Breakers take on the Memphis Showboats this Sunday.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by