Hill is a 13-year veteran, but that is in name only. He spent four years with the Vikings and all he had to show for it is two kneel-downs in the only game he played.
Since then, he’s been mostly a backup who earned his stripes by being a guy who doesn’t ruin a game for his team. He’s a game manager, not a game-changer.
In 34 career starts with the 49ers, Lions and Rams, he won 16 and lost 18. Not great, but not brutal. He has earned his spot as being a No. 2 quarterback, but the Vikings haven’t leaned as heavily on a guy who has never had a serious run as a starter in a long, long time.
Don’t be mistaken. Most of the Vikings’ No. 2 quarterbacks in recent years have undeniably been viewed by outsiders as No. 2 quarterbacks. But they were No. 2 with the intention of not being a big step down if the starter goes down.
When Christian Ponder replaced Donovan McNabb, Vikings fans were thrilled. The same applied when Cassel replaced Ponder. The same was true when Bridgewater got thrust into action.
If Hill sees the field as a Viking in any form other than his previous Minnesota résumé – taking a knee in mop-up duty, it won’t engender excitement among Vikings fans. His historical record shows that he will hold down the fort until the starter (Bridgewater) comes back if his injury is short-term in terms of healing time, but, outside of his immediate family, there isn’t going to be a bar argument anywhere in Vikings Country that turns into a full-blown dustup because one of the combatants is trying to make a persuasive case that Hill should be the starter.
Anti-McNabb types a month into the 2011 season (translation: anyone with the benefit of sight) wanted Ponder – or anyone else – to step in. When Ponder’s make-or-break year became his break year, Cassel apologists were everywhere. From the day Teddy was drafted – months before preseason crowds at TCF Bank Stadium were chanting his name and booing Cassel and Ponder – it wasn’t a matter of if he was going to be the starter. It was a matter of when he was going to be the starter.
Clearly, Hill is a hired gun and one that doesn’t inspire a legitimate quarterback controversy.
As far as Vikings fans are concerned, the best thing Hill can do is man the sideline tablet and point things out to Teddy. Ideally, he doesn’t put on a helmet in a game that matters.
If Teddy goes down to injury, the Hill Era will begin. Few non-relatives will be donning their Hill jerseys at The Outgoing Bank.
With the legitimate battles that will play themselves out during training camp during the Fab Five preseason games, the one that won’t even come to a bubble, much less a boil, is at quarterback.
From the looks of things, fans of the Vikings are hoping Bridgewater has a prolific season. If he doesn’t, the Hill Era will be short, but, with crossed fingers, won’t be fatal.