A Former Vikings QB (and Minnesota’s Week 15 Foe) Has Been Playing Lights Out Football

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.

Typically, it is very hard to replace a starting QB in the middle of an NFL season.

The Minnesota Vikings are experiencing that right now as they’ve bounced between Jaren Hall, Josh Dobbs, and Nick Mullens in the aftermath of Kirk Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tear.

However, there is one team that has absolutely flourished with their backup QB in recent weeks. Ironically enough, it is the Cincinnati Bengals who are utilizing a former Vikings QB to make a playoff push following Joe Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury during Week 11. That QB is none other than Jake Browning.

A Former Vikings QB Has Been Playing Lights Out Football

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Browning got his NFL career started as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings back in 2019. He spent his collegiate career with the Washington Huskies where he threw for 12,296 yards, 94 TDs, and just 34 INTs over the course of four seasons from 2015-18.

The QB spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons on the Vikings practice squad before being scooped up by the Bengals prior to the start of the 2021 campaign. Since then, he’s bounced up and down between Cincinnati’s practice squad and active roster.

Back in Week 12, he made his first career NFL start, taking over the job from Burrow. He completed 19 of his 26 passes for 227 yards, a touchdown, and an interception as the Bengals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 16-10.

Former Vikings QB
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) comes off the field on fourth down in the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. The Steelers took a 16-10 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati.

Since that game, though, things have gone swimmingly for Browning and the Bengals. They’ve won each of their past two games, and Browning has completed 50 of his 61 passes for 629 yards, 3 TDs, and a single interception.

The Bengals have scored 34 points in each of these wins over fellow AFC playoff contenders (Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts), and now, Cincinnati sits in a six-way tie for the final two Wild Card spots in the conference at 7-6.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) throws under pressure from Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Myles Murphy (99) in the fourth quarter during a Week 14 NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

Seeing as the Vikings have scored a combined 33 points in their past three games, this game increasingly looks like a very tough test, especially with this matchup being on the road.

That test only gets harder if Justin Jefferson is forced to miss his eighth game of the season after exiting Sunday’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders with a chest injury. Luckily, the Vikings hold a one-game cushion above the chase pack in the NFC playoff race, so a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world.

The action all goes down on Saturday, December 16th when the Bengals and Vikings kick things off at Paycor Stadium at 12 PM Central.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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