New Candidate for Vikings Bridge QB Duties Emerges

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The mystery of the quarterback position is a major topic in Minnesota. With quarterback Kirk Cousins set to be an unrestricted free agent in less than a month, all options are on the table. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could re-sign him or let him walk, and both ways could be combined with the selection of the veteran’s successor in the draft.

New Candidate for Vikings Bridge QB Duties Emerges

New Candidate for Vikings Bridge QB Duties Emerges
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There are endless possibilities, and it is totally unclear who will throw passes in Kevin O’Connell’s offense in 2024.

The one thing everyone agrees with is that the starting quarterback can’t be under contract right now. Neither Nick Mullens nor Jaren Hall should be a starting quarterback for an entire season. But other options are rare as solid starters rarely enter free agency.

Available players include Gardner Minshew, Sam Darnold, and Mitchell Trubisky. Russell Wilson and Mac Jones could also look for new teams. The Bears might trade Justin Fields, but do they even entertain sending their former first-rounder to a division rival?

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Another player looking for a job is Jimmy Garoppolo, a former 49ers and current Raiders QB. The Raiders are expected to release him in the offseason, according to Ian Rapaport.

He led the 49ers into the playoffs multiple times, but the emergence of Brock Purdy made him obsolete, and he joined the Raiders a year ago. Garoppolo started six games in his lone season in Las Vegas, and the Raiders benched him for Aidan O’Connell.

His statistics show disastrous seven touchdowns, nine interceptions, and roughly 200 passing yards per start. That is barely NFL-worthy. However, in 57 games in San Francisco, Garoppolo collected 82 passing touchdowns and only 42 interceptions. In many analytical statistics, he was always close to the top.

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Of course, playing in Kyle Shanahan’s offense with a bunch of weapons helped him, but he is a veteran with plenty of experience in the league and can execute an offense at a solid level.

It shouldn’t be the goal for the Vikings to enter a season with him as a starter. Regardless, if Cousins exits the franchise, the Vikes need someone to start in his place. Drafting a rookie should be the priority, but those aren’t always ready to take the field in Week 1. Giving them time to develop until they are comfortable with the offense is crucial.

That’s why Garoppolo should be considered. He had a similar role when the 49ers traded up to draft Trey Lance. And he will be motivated because, at age 32, it could be his final chance to start games in the NFL. A bridge quarterback isn’t supposed to throw for 35 touchdowns. His job is to keep the team somewhat competitive as a veteran presence without throwing multiple INTs every week.

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A problem could be a PED suspension that will keep him off the field in the first two weeks of the season, resulting in a pair of games with Mullens under center. Nobody really wants a bridge quarterback under center, but they are just that, a bridge until the next guy is inserted into the lineup.

Garoppolo could be a cheap but reliable option to start for the Vikings for a few weeks, but the long-term solution to the problem can only arrive in the draft. The 11th overall pick could be the perfect spot to land J.J. McCarthy, and trading up is always an option, although a pricey one.

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