Latavius Murray signed with the Minnesota Vikings as fans face a post-Adrian Peterson era. This leaves the quarterback options still unsettled. With Murray, the team has hope for a decent running game. Add in the acquisitions on the offensive line, and the prospect that the team could pick up a pass-catching tight end like Larry Donnell, and the offense is headed the right direction. But who is going to hand Murray the ball, or throw passes to Donnell?
Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Options Still Unsettled
It is uncertain if Teddy Bridgewater will return to a Vikings uniform next year, or ever. With his contract up at the end of the 2017 season, he could command a healthy sum to stay in purple. Sam Bradford is also in the final year of his contract but looks to be the starter for this year at least. At the end of the season, Minnesota might have to choose between the two.
It all depends on Bridgewater’s recovery. If he doesn’t regain his pre-injury form, he might renegotiate and sign for a smaller, backup contract. Bridgewater would be an ideal cover for Bradford, who has been far from injury-free. But what about this year? The current backup, Taylor Heinicke, is unproven at best. So even this late in free agency, should the team be looking for a backup quarterback? The answer is maybe.
A Troubled Return?
Johnny Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, the same year Bridgewater came to the Vikings. After only two seasons, his off-field antics sidelined him, but over the past year, he has been getting his act together, at least personally.
Manziel has offered for the NFL to drug test him and has made some noise over his desire to get back in the league. The Vikings showed interest for him in the beginning. Should they risk bringing him back, even under a one year contract, to give him a chance to prove himself?
Manziel is only 24, a young quarterback who has the potential to become a star if he can keep the rest of his life under control. Another big test will be both his mental toughness and how quickly he can hone his physical skills. It’s a risk, but one with the potential to pay off in a huge way.
Good, Bad, and Ugly
Ryan Fitzpatrick is another option who has has some NFL starting experience; some good, some bad, and some downright ugly. In his first game in 2005, Fitzpatrick became one of only seven players who passed for more than 300 yards in their NFL debut. Since then, his performance has been both spectacular and horrible at times.
Lifetime, he has a 59% completion percentage, but last year with the New York Jets, it was just over 56%. Fitzpatrick threw 12 touchdowns but 17 interceptions last season and was sacked 19 times. There were shining moments, including the final game of the season, where he completed 20 of 30 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns to lead the team to victory over the Bills 30-10.
The Vikings could do worse if Bradford is injured for any reason, and Fitzpatrick could be a steal for a one-year contract, leaving the team open for a decision at the end of 2017, when they will know more about Bridgewater’s future as well.
An improved offensive line, prospects for a run game, and players to pass to won’t make any difference if Bradford isn’t on his game or gets injured, and there is no depth at quarterback. The situation in Minnesota is still unsettled, and no one has any sure answers yet.