With the Vikings quarterback situation a bit muddied, other than knowing that Sam Bradford will be The Guy for 2017, the Vikings are still looking at backup options for the upcoming season. Veteran backup Shaun Hill will more than likely not return, and Teddy Bridgewater's knee rehabilitation still has no timetable for him returning.
That leaves Bradford and Taylor Heinicke as the only healthy quarterbacks currently on the roster, with Bridgewater in limbo for part or all of the year, depending on what report you read, and when you read it.
The bottom line in all this is that the Vikings will need a third quarterback for part or all of the 2017 season, and they have one of two options to get one. They can either take one in the upcoming draft, or they can sign a free agent. And when Mike Zimmer spoke to the press during the Owner's Meeting recently, he seemed to indicate that the Vikings were going to be signing a free agent soon:
Zimmer on backup QB plans: "I'm sure we're going to get something done there." Looking at signing a veteran fairly soon, sounds like.— Mark Craig (@markcraignfl) March 29, 2017
So looking at the available free agents, the list is...a list. Let's see who's currently available, at least the top four or five:
Colin Kaepernick: Kaepernick is probably the most polarizing player in the NFL right now. Off the field controversies aside, Kaepernick the player is intriguing, but also divisive. He has impressive stats (16 TD's to only 4 interceptions last year), but the 49ers were one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The knock on him is that he can be successful, but only in an offense that highlights his okay arm with above average running ability. Is that a Pat Shurmur offense? There has been a lot of debate over his off the field news, but it was also reported he was wanting upwards of $8 million a season. If true, that's a big paycheck for a backup QB.
Jay Cutler: What do you say about Cutler? He has a perceived DOOOOOOOOOOOON'T CAAAAAAAAAAAARE attitude, but his teammates all say he's a great locker room guy. He has legitimate NFL talent, yet hasn't lived up to expectations. His strong arm makes him fearless, but also gets him in trouble. Could Cutler reign it in and play disciplined under Shurmur like he did Adam Gase if he was called upon? He made $16 million last year, is 34, and coming off a shoulder injury. And since he is a gunslinging quarterback from the NFC North, why wouldn't he sign with the Vikings? Matthew Stafford, we'll see you in eight or nine years, pal.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: This is the guy I'm thinking the Vikings are looking at harder than most. Kaepernick brings a lot of off the field stuff, Cutler brings on the field inconsistency and a desire to start, and Fitz is just sorta there, lurking in the background, with enough ability that can win you a few games if pressed in to servicen, but might be cost prohibitive. He earned $12 million last season, and could be pricey for a backup.
Robert Griffin III: RGIII is an enigma to me right now. He set the league on fire his rookie year, then got hurt, and has never been the same. He was hurt about 10 minutes into his Browns career last year, and even though on paper he seemed like the best option on their roster, they released him. RGIII seems like a backup only at this point, but he made his bones by being able to run the ball. He can no longer do that, and he's not an accurate pocket passer, which is a big markdown in this offense.
Case Keenum: The more I look at Keenum, the more I think that if the Vikes aren't targeting Fitzpatrick, they're going to go after Keenum. He did a decent job as the guy holding the reins for Jared Goff, going 4-5 as a starter, while completing almost 61% of his passes while throwing for 2200 yards, 9 TD's, and 11 interceptions. He made just over $3.6 million, which is right in the wheelhouse for good backup money in the NFL, and he's a guy that can play the position at a competent level if needed.
After those five guys, the list switches to guys like Hill, Matt McGloin, and Christian Ponder, so it feels like of the free agent QB's available, it will more than likely come from one of these five players.
Who's your choice?