What Does Jake Browning Do before Vikings Week?

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) throws a pass during the Cincinnati Bengals fan day practice at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, July 29, 2023. © Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Looking ahead at the rest of the Minnesota Vikings regular season schedule, the only game circled as a certain loss the rest of the way was a tilt against the Cincinnati Bengals. That was the case when Joe Burrow was under center, but he isn’t, and former Vikings practice squad quarterback Jake Browning is. So what now?

What Does Jake Browning Do before Vikings Week?

Filling in for Joe Burrow is hardly a straightforward ask. The Bengals starting quarterback was just given the bag before the regular season kicked off, and while the results weren’t optimal, he is widely regarded as among the best young signal callers in the league. If you replace him, it would always be assumed to be an uphill task, and Jake Browning is hardly a battle-tested veteran.

What Does Jake
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Coming out of Washington, some thought Browning had the makeup to be a pro-style quarterback. He did go undrafted, so the belief wasn’t worth a team willing to spend a pick on him, but after hanging with the Vikings for a while, Cincinnati opted to make him their backup. Assuming he wouldn’t see the field much, if at all, was a good bet, but the circumstances have now changed.

Taking over for an injured Burrow last week, Browning went 8 for 14 and threw for 68 yards. He put the ball in the end zone once, and although the Bengals came up short against the Baltimore Ravens, it had to be a confidence-building scenario. Now, with a full week of practice as the starter, it’s his turn to show how the preparation has helped.

If there’s a positive for the Bengals and Browning, the schedule gives him something of a soft landing. Playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers immediately out of the gate, there shouldn’t be a significant feeling that an offensive explosion is necessary. Kenny Pickett hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, and while Mike Tomlin’s team isn’t a slouch, they certainly don’t put up points in bunches.

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A week later, Browning will face a substantially more difficult challenge as the Bengals travel to Florida for a tilt with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence has really settled in as an emerging star quarterback, and the Jaguars are a team with an arrow pointing straight up. Should Browning be able to keep Cincinnati in that contest, there is no doubt he would raise some eyebrows.

In the week prior to their matchup with Minnesota, the Bengals host the Indianapolis Colts. Taking rookie Anthony Richardson to be their starter this season, they lost his services for the season earlier this year. Now employing Gardner Minshew as their quarterback, Indianapolis is hardly a juggernaut. Providing a second soft matchup for the first three weeks of Browning, the Bengals could ease their forced quarterback into action.

When the Vikings square off against the Bengals, they should find themselves in an advantageous situation, and being able to knock off a former team member could provide some intrigue. As Browning never competed for Minnesota, it’s not as though there is some lengthy history to worry about. Still, he could be looking to show out against a former employer, and how he competes in the weeks leading up to that game should give the Vikings plenty of tape to dissect what level of production they should expect.

Could Start for Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) drops back to throw during a training camp practice at the Paycor Stadium practice field in downtown Cincinnati on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. © Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The quarterback position has largely been a minefield in the NFL this season, and the Bengals couldn’t escape that fate either. Browning now must hold serve for Cincinnati, and the Vikings will have their chance to knock him off.

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.