Vikings Fans Return to Familiar but Unkind Spot

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a really good chance that the Minnesota Vikings play hopscotch between two or three quarterbacks in the next two months.

Vikings Fans Return to Familiar but Unkind Spot

Kirk Cousins was injured at Lambeau Field on Sunday, reportedly tearing his Achilles’ tendon, which will sideline the 35-year-old for the rest of 2023 and cast his future in Minnesota into doubt. Cousins is scheduled to hit free agency in March.

Familiar but Unkind
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings live in the NFC’s No. 7 seed after Week 8, on the edge of the playoff picture after winning three consecutive games versus the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Green Bay Packers. Everything had turned around for Minnesota after a survive-and-advance win at Soldier Field in Week 6.

Now, however, the team and its fans will return to a familiar but unkind spot after several years, featuring indefinite quarterback instability.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, rookie passer Jaren Hall could set the world on fire and squash all anxiety as QB1, but that is a longshot because of Hall’s draft stock. Minnesota scooped Hall out of the 5th Round six months ago, and most late-round quarterbacks don’t pan out. Folks reference Tom Brady and Brock Purdy, for example, but those men, plus a side dish of Ryan Fitzpatrick or undrafted talents like Kurt Warner and Tony Romo, are the only notable examples of hundreds that didn’t take off.

And if Hall isn’t a savior like Purdy in San Francisco last year, Minnesota will have a couple of other in-house options like Nick Mullens and Sean Mannion.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings QB1 Daunte Culpepper was injured in Week 8 of 2005 during his sixth season as a starter; Vikings QB1 Kirk Cousins was injured in Week 8 of 2023 during his sixth season as a starter. After Culpepper’s exit — he never played for the Vikings again — the Vikings turned to Brad Johnson the rest of the way 18 years ago.

But after Johnson, the purple team vacillated between a hodgepodge of Tarvaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, Brooks Bollinger, Kelly Holcomb, and Sage Rosenfels before acquiring Favre in 2009.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Sadly, unless Hall or Mullens are the real deal in the next few weeks, contemplating Hall, Mullens, or Mannion on a weekly basis feels like a tangible possibility as the Vikings navigate life post-Cousins.

Cousins was not universally loved by Vikings fans, but the man did lock down QB1 with extreme reliability, never missing a game to injury — until now. It’s been over a decade since the Teddy Bridgewater + Matt Cassel + Christian Ponder era of 2011-2014.

Sans a glistening debut from Hall or a marvelous takeover from Mullens, the Vikings could be headed toward territory not experienced since the pre-Mike Zimmer era or post-Culpepper period. At least for the rest of 2023.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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