Very Quietly, the Vikings Said Goodbye to Yet Another Quarterback
Fans will be forgiven if they missed the news about when the Vikings said goodbye to another quarterback.
Last Friday afternoon, Minnesota’s social media sent out this tweet: “The #Vikings have released QB Tanner Morgan from the practice squad.” Morgan had been signed earlier in the week, a move that was relatively easy to foresee since Jaren Hall was lost due to concussion. The undrafted Morgan had spent some time with the organization earlier in the year, so getting him up to speed wouldn’t be overwhelmingly challenging.
His reunion tour didn’t last very long, though. The Vikings decided to move on before he ever got a shot to help in an actual game.
Clearly, whatever Kevin O’Connell and the coaching staff saw during the week gave them sufficient confidence in the options that were available to them. Josh Dobbs was the starter and Sean Mannion got elevated to take over as the main backup.
In the end, the QB depth — or lack thereof — didn’t matter in Week 10. The Vikings took down the Saints 27-19, largely due to a brilliant second quarter from Mr. Dobbs and the team’s offense. The Passtronaut made it through the contest unscathed, so there was no need to lean into the other options for under center.
The Vikings Said Goodbye to Yet Another Quarterback
Very few are going to mistake Tanner Morgan for Patrick Mahomes, but there seemed to be some wisdom in bringing him aboard. Not only did Hall go down in Atlanta, but so too did Cam Akers. The backup RB was also the team’s emergency QB, so the loss of a single player meant Minnesota was navigating a double hit to the depth.
And Mannion, of course, doesn’t inspire too much optimism in the Twin Cities. He is with the organization due to his brain, not his on-field abilities. The seasoned veteran helps the starter to prepare. Needing to turn to him would have almost certainly led to the offense screeching to a halt, especially since the running game remains a work in progress (and that’s being generous).
Earlier on Friday, Kevin O’Connell even spent some time praising Morgan in a press conference. The head coach described how he attended the quarterback’s pro day and gleaned some insight about Morgan from P.J. Fleck, the head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Now, in fairness, O’Connell did leave the door open for moving on from Morgan. Per the head coach, Morgan has been helping his alma mater by “doing breakdowns for the Gophers.” O’Connell thus notes that he does “want to be sensitive of his other obligations because he’s off to a great start in his coaching career.”
An odd comment if the goal really was to keep Mr. Morgan around the roster for the duration of the Vikings season. The words ended up being prophetic, for the Vikings announced that they were moving on late in the afternoon on Friday, November 10th. He was brought back on Wednesday, November 8th, so the partnership was certainly shortly-lived.
Previously, Josh Frey — the college football aficionado in this part of the internet — had this to say about Morgan: “His collegiate career at Minnesota got off to a very promising start, particularly during his sophomore season of 2019 where he completed 66% of his passes for 3253 yards, 30 TDs, and 7 INTs. His passing yards and passing TDs each ranked second in the Big Ten that year.”
Frey goes on: “Following that season, though, things progressively went downhill for Morgan and the Gophers. Minnesota finished the 2020 season with a 3-4 record and most recently have gone 9-4 in each of the 2021 and 2022 seasons with Guaranteed Rate Bowl and Pinstripe Bowl victories. In 2022, he played just nine games due to a hit taken in the first half of the Gophers game against Nebraska, and he completed 66.9% of his passes for 1382 yards, 9 TDs, and 5 INTs.”
As things currently stand, the likeliest path forward for Tanner Morgan in football appears to be as a coach. But, of course, there’s no one who can predict the future. Perhaps the Gopher/Viking finds a way of making it in the NFL, surprising folks in a similar manner to someone like Kurt Warner or Tony Romo.
Minnesota’s next game will take place on Sunday Night Football. Josh Dobbs is going to get the start, a reality that won’t change even if Nick Mullens and/or Jaren Hall are healthy enough to toss on football equipment.
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K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.