The quarterback position for the Minnesota Vikings has been interesting in 2017, to say the least. The initial starter, Sam Bradford, had a brilliant game in the season opener, and then went down to a mysterious injury from a game in which he was only hit twice. The team has since been starting a presumed journeyman that’s having the season of his football life in Case Keenum, which has been enough for him to hold off a potential challenge from the returning Teddy Bridgewater.
While the Vikings’ 2018 quarterback depth chart will likely be much less interesting, there’s a very good chance that it will be more expensive, particularly if the Vikings are forced to use the franchise tag.
Jason Fitzgerald from Over the Cap has put together his estimates for what the franchise and transition player tags for the coming offseason will look like, and as you’d expect, it’s pricey to put the tag on a quarterback. Fitzgerald estimates the franchise tag for quarterbacks next season to come in at around $23.3 million. For comparison’s sake, the cap figure for Bradford, Bridgewater, Keenum, and Kyle Sloter comes in at a combined $22.4 million for this season.
At first glance, it doesn’t appear as though it would make any sense for the Vikings to use the tag on any of their current quarterbacks. Bradford is almost certainly no longer part of the long-term plan for the Vikings with his ongoing knee issues, and with Bridgewater not having seen any meaningful action in nearly two years, guaranteeing him over $23 million for one season would be a little crazy. Keenum is probably playing his way into a sizeable contract, but even with the way he’s been playing this season, $23 million seems a little steep.
This might be something that the Vikings will have to take into consideration, though, given that the only quarterback they have under contract beyond this season is Sloter. Hopefully, Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer will be able to convince Keenum or Bridgewater (or both) that this team is building something special for the long term and get them to sign a fairly reasonable contract to remain a part of it. We know that Mike Zimmer loves Bridgewater, but there’s no denying that a big part of the Vikings being where they are this season is due to Keenum’s performance.
While the 2018 season at the quarterback position is likely going to be much less interesting for the Vikings, the road to get there through the remainder of this season and this coming offseason will certainly not be.