The 6 Fringe QB Options for Vikings at QB

Dec 22, 2018; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings QB1 Kirk Cousins reportedly tore his Achilles’ tendon at Lambeau Field on Sunday, and when confirmed, that will sideline the 35-year-old for the rest of 2023.

Minnesota recently won its last three games, now in the NFC’s seventh playoff seed but without a tried-and-true quarterback for the season’s remainder.

The 6 Fringe QB Options for Vikings at QB

The club will have multiple options at QB1 during immediate life after Cousins, and those can be read here. The safest bet is a Jaren Hall start this Sunday at the Atlanta Falcons, and a pivot to Nick Mullens, who returns from injured reserve in Week 10, if Hall is awful in his first start.

Too, there are always the wild and unthinkable options. These are those ranked in ascending order of likelihood (No. 1 = crazy but more likely than others).

6. Call Andrew Luck

The 6 Fringe QB
Aug 17, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) walks the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Andrew Luck is one year younger than Cousins and hasn’t played professional football since 2018. The last time he was on a regular season field, the Vikings were winding down their first season with Cousins at the helm.

But Luck is significantly younger than many others on this list, and in the off-chance he’s itching to play football — he probably isn’t — Minnesota has offensive weapons galore, an elite offensive line, and a suddenly sturdy defense.

5. Sign Philip Rivers

Oct 30, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts following an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-19. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Rivers will turn 42 in December and hasn’t played in the NFL since 2020. Yes, it’s been that long.

Yet, last year, when the San Francisco 49ers encountered injury hell, River was actually San Francisco’s Super Bowl contingency plan. Had the 49ers made it to February, Kyle Shanahan and friends allegedly would’ve signed the future Hall of Famer.

So, what’s that different about the 49ers then and the Vikings now?

4. Sign Tom Brady

Former Viking Has Tom
Dec 25, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL fans wondered if Brady would return earlier this season when Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles — there’s a lot of that going around — and he told Jim Gray, “Next question.”

Indeed, Brady is 46, ancient by NFL standards, but if he wanted one more shot at glory, this would be it. The Vikings defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, was coworkers with Brady for 15 seasons in New England, and head coach Kevin O’Connell was on the same depth chart as Brady in 2008.

Flores and O’Connell should be able to get Brady on the phone.

3. Trade for Matthew Stafford

Oct 9, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws a pass in the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

The Rams are 3-5, Stafford tweaked his thumb on Sunday, and the NFL’s trade deadline is in one day. If there’s any inkling that Los Angeles is ready to “throw in the towel” on 2023, why not reunite Stafford with O’Connell in Minnesota?

The two engineered a Super Bowl championship in 2021, which prompted O’Connell to earn the Vikings top job. Cousins and Stafford are basically the Spider-Man meme per production, so send Stafford to Minneapolis for a draft pick, and let’s see what happens.

2. Trade for Ryan Tannehill

Oct 13, 2023; London, United Kingdom; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) speaks to the press after Tennessee Titans practice session at The Grove, Watford, for their upcoming NFL London game. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Tannehill has a high ankle sprain at the moment — Marcus Davenport’s injury — and rookie passer Will Levis lit up the sky for the Titans in Week 8.

Tennessee probably isn’t going back to Tannehill, like ever. Levis was drafted for a reason, and the here and now has arrived for his emergence.

That leaves Tannehill as a reservist onlooker, and if he’s on the trade block, he might keep the Vikings season afloat if traded by Tennessee.

1. Trade for Kyler Murray

Dec 25, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

While the Cardinals haven’t obliged trade requests on Murray, their season is effectively kaput at 1-7. Murray will reportedly return at some point in 2023, but if Arizona’s new leadership regime wants to net Caleb Williams in April, playing Murray doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Murray’s contract would be a considerable hurdle for the Vikings to mount via trade, but some creativity might get the agreement over the hump.

Moreover, Murray wouldn’t only salvage the 2023 season for Minnesota. He’s 26 and would become the QB1 indefinitely.

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).

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