The quarterback situation for the Minnesota Vikings got significantly more complex on Tuesday with the season-ending injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Vikings’ General Manager Rick Spielman said that the team would be addressing the quarterback situation in short order, but it appears that there’s now another potential curve ball in this situation.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
#Vikings QB Taylor Heinicke ahead in rehab schedule & might be able to practice in 2 weeks leading some to believe might be on 53-man roster— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 2, 2016
As we know, Heinicke was expected to compete for the Vikings’ backup quarterback job, but showed up to camp with his foot in a cast after an ill-advised attempt at kung-fu fighting (HOO! HA!) with his friend’s apartment door.
The assumption for most of this preseason has been that Heinicke, who is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform List, would remain on that list into the regular season. Per NFL rules, Heinicke would not count against the team’s 53-man roster, but he would be forced to miss the Vikings’ first six games.
Obviously, if this report is true and he could start practicing again in two weeks, it would not be an ideal situation for the Vikings to have their #2 quarterback on the shelf until mid-October at the earliest. It’s also not terribly ideal to have undrafted free agent Joel Stave in a position where he’s one solid shot to Shaun Hill away from playing meaningful snaps.
So, it’s possible that the Vikings could end up starting the season with four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Hill would remain as the starter, a veteran acquired by the Vikings would be the #2 quarterback, and Stave would be at #3 with Heinicke an automatic inactive until he was healthy enough to play again. On the other hand, if the Vikings did acquire a veteran, they could attempt to get Stave to the practice squad, roll with Hill and that veteran, and keep Heinicke inactive on game days. However, anyone that the Vikings were to acquire now would be relatively ill-equipped to enter a game in a scenario where something happens to Hill.
This is why Rick Spielman gets the big paychecks from Zygi Wilf. He’s going to have to balance Heinicke’s situation with the possibility of adding another quarterback and figuring out if whatever compensation he might have to offer a team in trade would potentially be worth it. We’re a little less than ten hours away from finding out what’s going to happen with Heinicke, but there will be moves made after that as well. We’ll have all the news on all the moves the Minnesota Vikings make right here, leading up to today’s 3 PM Central roster deadline.