In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the name ‘Mitch Leidner’ strikes a raw nerve amongst Gopher football fans.
I don’t understand why, because Todd McShay had projected Mitch Leidner as a first round draft pick before the 2016 season started (this was a joke, much like the McShay mock draft, kids).
With Sam Bradford set to become a free agent at the end of this season, and Teddy Bridgewater still rehabbing from the ISIS terrorist attack on his knee, any move the Vikings make regarding the quarterback situation can be interpreted in one of several ways, and we collectively tend to over react to each move.
Which is SO not gonna happen in this post.
To me, it’s a truly puzzling move, and as cool and dispassionately as I can, I’m going to try to walk through the reasoning as to why AND OH MY GOD THEY’RE GONNA TRADE TEDDY AREN’T THEY?
Rick Spielman has gone insane and is in need of serious medical help. This is the most logical, because why else would he sign Mitch Leidner? But since it is a violation of HIPPA laws to obtain his medical records, we must assume that he is not insane, and therefore, we will no longer infer otherwise. Although I’m still puzzled by the Willie Beavers pick and the 2010 draft you guys (besides Everson Griffen), not even gonna lie.
It’s the first move in a scenario that involves a trade of Sam Bradford. LOL nope. If you think it might be a set up to move Sam, that makes no sense. Although Bridgewater seems to be well on the road to recovery, he hasn’t been cleared to play yet. So trading your starting quarterback to start the season with Case Keenum would be...not smart. I get that Bradford can leave at the end of the year, and the Vikings might not be committed to him long term, but moving him now with inadequate, injured, and unproven talent behind him would be an extreme case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
It’s the first move in a scenario that involves a trade of Teddy Bridgewater. Also LOL nope. If it’s the first step in trading Bridgewater, that makes as little sense as the Bradford trade theory, except for the team receiving Bridgewater. Why would any team want Bridgewater right now? There’s no guarantee that he is healthy or could contribute this year, for one, and if the Vikings are committed to Bradford long term, there’s no way the Vikings could get adequate compensation for Bridgewater. I can’t see anyone wanting to trade for a quarterback who could, at some point but with no guarantees, be their starter. Unless Cleveland is still taking quarterback strategy from a homeless guy, this seems remote. The trade that is, not the Browns putting homeless guys in the personnel department.
The Vikings want to send a message to Case Keenum and/or Taylor Heinicke. This could be possible, as Heinicke, who the Vikings seemed really high on early last year, has had a hard time putting his best foot forward so far in 2017. (Tell me you saw what I did there. Even if you didn’t, lie to me and say you did, because that was awfully funny imo). But even still, this seems remote, because Heinicke has been with the team for three years now, and knows the offense. Leidner is coming in well in to training camp, and has a long way to go just learning the offense, much less running it.
Keenum has been in the NFL for five years, and has 24 starts under his belt. He’s not an All-Pro talent or anything, but he’s a decent backup quarterback that has proven he can come in and run the Vikings offense temporarily. He’s not a long term answer, but he’s not supposed to be, either. And he’s still miles ahead of Heinicke, who’s miles ahead of Leidner. So I’m not sure what message is being sent, if that’s what the reasoning is, other than ‘we really plan to suck if Sam goes down and Teddy can’t play’.
The Vikings just want one more QB for the 4th pre-season game. This makes the most sense to me. They won’t start Sam, they don’t want to risk Keenum or Heinicke getting hurt, so they’ll probably play Heinicke for a seies or two, then put Leidner in to let him finish out the game. There will be a lot of guys fighting for their professional lives during the final preseason game, but the Vikings quarterback spot is as settled as anyone has in the NFL. And besides, not a lot of guys will be able to say that they had multiple interception games as a Minnesota Golden Gopher AND a Minnesota Viking, and I bet this is Rick Spielman helping Leidner fulfill a lifelong dream.