10 Guys Who Could Start at QB for Vikings Next Week
The Minnesota Vikings have saved their season with three straight wins. Another victory at Lambeau Field in Week 8 results in a 4-4 record. A team that holds a postseason spot at this point likely lost their most important player, Kirk Cousins, for the season. All hope seems gone to win without their top passer who slowly played himself into MVP conversation.
10 Guys Who Could Start at QB for Vikings Next Week
2017 produced a magical Vikings season with a backup quarterback. Case Keenum took over for Sam Bradford and kept the season alive with a wonderful run all the way to the NFC Championship game. The final game that year came against the Philadelphia Eagles who rode Nick Foles all the way to the Super Bowl. Maybe the season is not dead after all, especially with the way the defense and the offense around Cousins has been playing in the last few weeks.
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have some options. Some are more likely than others. We will learn a lot about the decision-makers in the next few days with the trade deadline approaching on Tuesday.
1. Jaren Hall
Without Cousins and with backup Nick Mullens on IR for at least another week, Hall is the only healthy quarterback on the roster. The Vikings drafted him in the fifth round and the rookie has been getting O’Connell’s coaching ever since.
Hall had a shaky preseason and completed three of four passes for 23 yards after Cousins went down. The BYU prospect is a mobile quarterback who has shown that he isn’t ready to be an NFL quarterback yet. However, he is familiar with the playbook and O’Connell now has a week to build an offense for him. With weapons everywhere and the team starting to heat up, Hall might be able to surprise the fan base.
The advantages are obvious: He doesn’t cost anything, the Vikings would see if he is more than a backup going forward and he knows the offense better than any other passer could within a week.
2. Sean Mannion
This pick will upset many fans but it is reality. Sean Mannion is the practice squad quarterback and is also more familiar with the offense than guys off the street or those who could be acquired via trade.
Regardless, Mannion doesn’t belong on an NFL field and has shown that anytime he was asked to play. The veteran is the ultimate game-manager but lacks the arm and necessary skills. Still, he is unlikely to make bad mistakes that can spiral into a bad loss. The least inspiring option is a long shot but what if the coaches decide to give Hall an additional week to prepare without signing anyone else?
3. Joshua Dobbs
The Arizona Cardinals traded for Dobbs on August 24. Two-and-a-half weeks later, he started for them against the Commanders, showing his ability to learn an offense quickly. Since then, Dobbs has thrown for eight touchdowns, five interceptions, and roughly 200 yards per game while adding a total of 258 yards and three scores on the ground.
He has been playing on a horrible offense, a unit that lacks talent, but has shown the ability to extend plays by using his feet and found ways to keep his team in games. With Kyler Murray set to return from his torn ACL and his team sitting at the bottom of the league with a 1-6 record, Dobbs could be worth a call.
4. Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill has been a decent quarterback for a while. He used to be an underrated passer who thrived on good teams, especially in the right system. The Titans’ quarterback is an excellent play-action passer, making him a good fit in Minnesota. However, he missed this week’s game because of an ankle injury, something that also made him miss two weeks last season, which put his backup Dobbs on the map.
Tannehill has not played good football this year with two touchdowns and six picks but the poor offensive line and the lack of good receivers hurt him. Will Levis started in his absence and fired up four touchdowns. If the 3-4 Titans want to see more from their second-round pick, the veteran could be available for a trade, taking over the Vikings once he returns from his ankle sprain.
5. Teddy Bridgewater
Minnesota’s first-rounder in 2014, Bridgewater’s career hasn’t been what Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer hoped for. A knee injury right before his potential breakout season turned him into a career backup. Perhaps one of the better backups in football, Bridgewater signed with the Lions to become Jared Goff’s second-string guy.
It doesn’t seem likely that the Lions would help out a division rival but the thoughts of having Teddy back in purple after all those years are certainly nice for romantics. The veteran threw for 18 TDs and seven INTs in 2021 as Denver’s starter and produced four TDs and four INTs as backup in Miami in 2022.
6. Tom Brady
If we’re talking about unlikely scenarios, well, here is one. Tom Brady, probably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, is technically a free agent. He certainly wouldn’t return to the NFL to play for a bad team but the Vikings employ some of the league’s best receivers, have a good offensive line and the defense has been impressive recently.
He can have the remaining cap space, and in case of a Super Bowl triumph, he would be ensured a statue outside of U.S. Bank Stadium and perhaps partial ownership of the franchise. O’Connell was his understudy in New England and Brian Flores worked on that staff for a while. If a connection is needed, there it is.
Does the 46-year-old have one more Super Bowl run in him? There’s only one way to find out.
7. Carson Wentz
A potential MVP run was ruined by a torn ACL in 2017 and his career hasn’t been the same since. A solid year in 2018 was followed by a lot of bad football with frequent turnovers and a lack of consistency. So why should the Vikings even think about him? He is a talented player and there could be some potential that was wasted on bad teams in the last few seasons.
Wentz is a free agent and the team has to sign someone to be active next week. Why shouldn’t that be a big name like Wentz? He produced 27 TDs and only 7 INTs in his 2021 season in Indianapolis, followed by 11 TDs and 9 INTs in eight games as Washington’s QB last season.
8. Taylor Heinicke
The timing is odd for this move as starter Desmond Ridder left Sunday’s game with a concussion and he could very well start next week, curiously, against the Vikings. Heinicke is a prototypical backup quarterback, someone who is not afraid to step onto the field to make plays.
He is a true gunslinger and could just throw the ball down the field to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison while using his legs to create some space behind the line of scrimmage. The former Vikings quarterback led Washington in the 2020 playoffs in which he battled to the final whistle against the eventual Super Bowl champions Buccaneers, throwing for over 300 yards and scoring twice.
9. Andy Dalton
The veteran starting quarterback is coming off a wonderful season in New Orleans. He stepped in for Jameis Winston and turned back the clock, looking like a solid player years after losing his job in Cincinnati.
Dalton is now playing in Carolina, mostly backing up Bryce Young, the first overall pick. When Young missed a game, Dalton once again played well. He is unlikely to take over games and put the team on his back but with Minnesota’s weapons, he might be able to keep the team competitive.
10. Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston, the former first overall pick has had an up-and.down career. Throwing for 30 interceptions in 2019 is almost unbelievable nowadays and looks more like a stat line from the 1960s. However, as a backup for Drew Brees in New Orleans, he showed growth, throwing for 14 TDs and only three picks in seven starts in 2021 before tearing his ACL.
Winston is the odd man out in New Orleans with Derek Carr starting and Taysom Hill as a gadget QB2. He can make every throw and isn’t afraid of giving his wideouts a chance which would be wonderful news for everyone who doesn’t want to see rookie sensation Addison and superstar Jefferson playing with a game-manager that doesn’t give the talented receivers a chance.
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