The 5 Best Free-Agent QB Options for Vikings

Vikings QB
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NFL free agency kicks off in about three weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings will start the 2024 team-building process.

At the forefront of all offseason dominoes is Kirk Cousins’ future in Minnesota. He could re-up for a year, two, or three — or embark on free agency and join a new franchise like the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, or Pittsburgh Steelers, for example.

The 5 Best Free-Agent QB Options for Vikings

Then, some believe Minnesota might need a “bridge quarterback” in the event Cousins departs and the Vikings draft a rookie quarterback. Of course, the team employs Nick Mullens, who could be a fine patchover option, but the Vikings fan community simply doesn’t recognize Mullens as a candidate. At least Mullens as an option isn’t widespread.

So, these are the Vikings’ free-agent options at quarterback ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most likely to sign with the Vikings). Keep in mind that the first four options are passers for the gap between a veteran and a rookie, not necessarily end-all solutions.

5. Jacoby Brissett

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Brissett has started 48 career games in the NFL, most recently for the 2022 Cleveland Browns. He saw action in 2023 for the Washington Commanders, although he did not start any contests.

If the Vikings draft J.J. McCarthy, for example, and let Kirk Cousins depart, Brissett could hold down the fort on offense for 1-10 weeks until McCarthy was ready.

The plan might feel underwhelming for some, but Brissett to Vikings is a real-life affordable option. Minnesota reportedly contemplated a Brissett trade last October when Cousins fell injured but opted for Joshua Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals.

4. Gardner Minshew

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew II (10) sit on the sideline Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. © Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Perhaps the fans’ favorite on the list, MinshewMania could reasonably sweep through Minneapolis in 2024. In fact, if the Vikings draft a quarterback who’s quite raw and they don’t re-sign Cousins, Minshew makes all the sense in the world to patch a young passer over to the pros. For example, a pairing of Minshew and Michael Penix Jr. would add up.

The Indianapolis Colts were 7-6 on Minshew’s watch in 2023, so he was a stable force for good when Anthony Richardson was lost for the season.

3. Sam Darnold

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Sooner or later, Darnold will probably get one more extended chance to start in the NFL if, for instance, his teammate QB1 gets injured. He has the draft stock for one last look from a coaching staff and has played quite well at times in the past. He just never lived up to his 1st-Round stock from 2018.

Darnold will be cheap. The Vikings might need an experienced veteran next to Nick Mullens and the unnamed rookie quarterback from the 2024 NFL Draft.

2. Drew Lock

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Drew Lock mesmerized the NFL community in Week 14, helping the Seattle Seahawks defeat the Philadelphia Eagles. When it’s all said and done, that might be his keynote career highlight.

Lock is lovable, only 27, and could succeed, to a degree, in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. He has a big arm, and the Vikings have plenty of pass-catching options. Like all options on this list besides the next guy, Lock will be gettable for cheap.

1. Kirk Cousins

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) leaves the field following an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Minneapolis, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The Vikings defeated the Seahawks 30-17. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

An obvious choice for No. 1, Minnesota could financially meet in the middle with Cousins on a contract extension, and Vikings football would proceed as if nothing changed. It’s just that this offseason features more Cousins uncertainty than ever before.

His return is a true coinflip as of February 17th, but he is the most likely free-agent quarterback to be signed by Minnesota in the next six weeks. Incumbency is an advantage.

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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