The Vikings Need a Backup QB. What are Their Options?

Tim Tebow. I’m just kidding (though he is available). In all seriousness, backup QB is a need for our Minnesota Vikings.

As it stands, the Vikings have three quarterbacks under contract: Kirk Cousins, Nate Stanley, and Jake Browning. Neither Stanley nor Browning offer any real reason for optimism at this stage. Stanley, a seventh-round pick in last year’s draft, has great size and intangibles. His abilities on the field, though, are limited, as evidenced by his inability to beat out Sean Mannion for the backup job last year. Browning offers some intriguing athleticism, but the undrafted free agent has been a practice squad player for the past couple seasons.

Mannion is still a free agent, and fans shouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings bring him back to be their backup QB. He is a veteran who provides value on the sidelines. He also leaves a lot to be desired when he actually gets on the field. Minnesota would be in trouble if Mannion had to take over.

Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman haven’t really made the backup QB a priority since they signed Cousins. It makes some sense. Cousins gobbles up a lot of cap space, so it’s not like they’re enthused about paying big money to a backup. Moreover, Cousins never gets hurt. His one missed game as a Viking came in 2019 when they had already secured their playoff spot. Mannion played that game, finishing 12/21 for 126 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs.

Some of the intriguing free agent options have been scooped up. I wrote about Tyrod Taylor, and Josh Frey wrote about trading for Gardner Minshew. For the record, the Minshew move still makes a lot of sense to me. We all know how important a backup QB can be, especially one with a lot of swagger. Case Keenum gave Vikings fans one of the best seasons in the team’s history.

Otherwise, the Vikings will likely need to look to the draft. PFT recently reported that Minnesota had a representative at Kellen Mond’s pro day. It’s not smart to overreact to a team sending a representative to a workout; it’s often just a team doing its due diligence. It’s also not smart to overlook the fact that Minnesota once again has oodles of draft picks and a clear need at the QB position. Perhaps the backup will be Mond.

In any case, we should collectively hope that Zim and Spielman do bring someone in for that backup spot. Mannion is an uninspiring option, so getting someone in the draft is certainly a lot more appealing. A veteran like Alex Smith would also make sense, assuming the price is right.

The Vikings have around $6 million in cap space.