In a move that surprised everyone the Minnesota Vikings signed former University of Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner. The burning question was obviously “Why?!” But no matter what reasoning we all tried to rationalize, we always ended up with more questions than answers.
Fox Sports talked to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and head coach Mike Zimmer about their reasoning behind the move. Shurmur said, “I think it’s extremely important that you’re always developing quarterbacks. You just never know how it’s going to play out. You just keep developing the quarterback position throughout the season and especially during training camp so that if for some reason you need a guy, you have a guy ready.”
And by having a guy ready means that Leidner and Taylor Heinicke will be fighting it out for third string or practice squad position. Signing Leidner and having Heinicke gives the Vikings what they didn’t have when Teddy Bridgewater went down and that’s the extra guy. Neither of these options are the best but it’s better than scrambling to find whatever you can.
If you live Minnesota or are a fan of college sports you are already familiar with Leidner’s work. It is what it is as they say. He threw 36 touchdowns and 32 interceptions in 47 games with the U of M. Which isn’t spectacular by any means but he does have his strengths. Out of the 36 touchdowns scored he ran in 33 and has shown he can score within the 5-yard line which is something that the Vikings are struggling with.
What I would like to see is Leidner and Heinicke play in the final two preseason games. Not the whole game mind you, maybe the last quarter of both. This will give the coaches a real look at both players and their ability to play a real NFL game in a no pressure situation.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said, “You look around the league, and when quarterbacks go down, then you start scrambling and finding guys on the street and things like that,” So, when you put it like that is signing Leidner that bad of an idea?