Since he was waived by the Denver Broncos as part of their final cuts in 2017 and, subsequently, claimed by the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Kyle Sloter has been a source of fascination for fans of the purple. He started on the practice squad, getting elevated to the active roster when the Vikings were dealing with Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater’s injury issues during the 2017 season, and spent the 2018 season as the #3 quarterback behind Kirk Cousins and Trevor Siemian.
In one-and-a-half preseasons with the Vikings, Sloter has put up very impressive numbers, and has been particularly solid this preseason. He has completed 17-of-20 passes for 178 yards, and has thrown a touchdown pass in each of Minnesota’s first two preseason games. So, that means that Sloter is making his way up the depth chart, right?
Well, if I can paraphrase Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer. . .naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Asked if another statistically strong preseason has moved Sloter any closer to [Sean] Mannion, the Vikings coach said, “I don’t know. I don’t know that you guys [media] know all the little details about what you see in how he goes and does the game.
“He’s got to get a lot better in a lot of the other parts of being a quarterback. Making the right checks, getting people in the right formation, making sure the motion is there, not missing the time clock when it’s 8 yards in front of you. There’s a lot of things he has to get better at if he wants to be the backup quarterback.”
From the sounds of that, it would appear that Zimmer and the coaching staff have already made up their minds that Sean Mannion is going to be Cousins’ primary backup and that Sloter will, in all likelihood, be looking at another season of wearing a baseball cap and carrying a clipboard while being inactive on game day.
That said, though. . .I’d honestly like to see Sloter get a shot with the #2 offense at some point during this preseason. He’s been impressive this preseason, to be sure, but if he’s going to seriously challenge for the backup quarterback spot, the Vikings need to give him an opportunity against better competition. Is that going to happen on Saturday afternoon against Arizona?
If what Mike Zimmer had to say on Monday is any indicator, I wouldn’t hold my breath. With this being the All-Important Third Preseason Game™, Cousins the starters are likely going to get the entire first half, and Mannion will probably get most of the third quarter. That’s going to leave Sloter to come in and mop up the fourth quarter.
The Vikings are, clearly, intrigued with Sloter’s ability, which is why they claimed him and have kept him on the team these past couple of seasons. Unfortunately for him, the coaching staff apparently still doesn’t see him as the #2 guy on the depth chart, and they’ve let him know what he needs to do to change that. Hopefully we’ll see him continue to develop going forward.