QB Heinicke leads Vikings’ UDFA crop

The Vikings agreed to terms with Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke among their post-draft free-agent crop.

The Minnesota Vikings’ free agent class will be led – at least in name recognition – by former Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

The highly productive, small-school quarterback agreed to a three-year deal with the Vikings for $1.3 million, according to the Virginian-Pilot. The deal included a $20,000 signing bonus, taking up one-fourth of the allotted sum for NFL teams to signed undrafted free agents.

Heinicke was holding out hope the Vikings would draft him.

“When I didn’t get a call from them (during the draft), it was kind of disappointing, kind of disheartening to be honest,” Heinicke told The Daily Press. “But they were still very interested and we were able to work it out, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

The Vikings had showed the most interest in Heinicke throughout the predraft process, including dinner with quarterbacks coach Scott Turner prior to the the Monarchs’ pro day and being part of the Viking’s “top-30” visits in early April. The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons also showed interest in him.

At Old Dominion, Heinicke threw for 14,959 yards, 132 touchdowns and had 16,279 yards in total offense, averaging 353.89 total yards per game. He completed 67.9 percent of his passes, averaging 8.18 yards per pass attempt.

He had 1,320 yards with 22 touchdowns on 367 carries (3.6 ypc), as he started all but one of the 46 games he appeared in. He also possesses a strong kicking leg, adding pooch punting duties to his resume with very impressive results – 42 punts for 1,785 yards (42.5 avg) with 20 of those boots downed inside the 20-yard line and 11 others going for distances of 50 yards or longer.

Heinicke was named Old Spice Player of the Year in the state of Georgia as a senior at Collins Hill High School. That award is presented annually to 50 high school varsity football athletes. He added Gwinnett Daily Post Offensive Player of the Year honors, as he set the county season records for passing yards (4,218 yards) and touchdowns (44) in 2010. His 4,218 passing yards ranks second in Georgia State history, while his 44 touchdowns rank third in state history.

He owns most of the Old Dominion season passing and total offense records at Old Dominion and ranked in the top 10 in several quarterback categories in NCAA history throughout all levels.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, when asked after the draft if he considered drafting a young developmental quarterback, hinted at the signing of one in free agency and Heinicke provides them that player.

Teddy Bridgewater is coming off one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history, ranking third all-time in completion percentage, and the Vikings have their veteran backup after signing Shaun Hill in free agency. Heinicke will compete with Mike Kafka, another offseason acquisition, for the No. 3 spot.

Other undrafted rookie additions being reported to the Vikings:

  • Bob Vardaro, Guard, Boston College

  • Anthony Harris, Safety, Virginia

  • DaVaris Daniels, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

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