After an abbreviated appearance in the preseason finale, the waiting game begins for rookie Minnesota Vikings rookie QB Joel Stave.
Despite all the quarterback trouble the Vikings have had with Teddy Bridgewater’s season-ending knee injury and Taylor Heinicke’s preseason-ending severed tendon, Stave’s preseason performance might not be enough to save him a spot on the 53-man roster.
“There were some good parts, there were some bad parts. All in all, I was fairly happy with it,” Stave said of his preseason. “There were obviously areas where I can keep getting better, obvious areas I can keep improving – playing faster, playing quicker with my feet, getting through my reads quicker. But that comes with time; that comes with experience. It was fun. It was fun just to be able to get out and play and get an opportunity with this team.”
Stave had almost twice as many pass attempts as Bridgwater and Shaun Hill combined, completing 28 of 51 passes for 285 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. His 63.0 passer rating was the lowest of the four Vikings quarterbacks that saw action in the preseason.
Injuries certainly gave Stave more opportunities that he would have otherwise had.
“That’s the nature of the game. Injuries lead to opportunities for other guys and that’s just something I’d like to be able to do – just take advantage of the opportunities I get,” he said. “It’s unfortunate the way the opportunities open up sometimes, but someone’s got to be ready. You’ve got to do everything you can to be that guy.”
He might have gotten more opportunities on Thursday night if it weren’t for a hit that knocked him out of the game. Although it was reported as a hand injury, Stave was being checked in the concussion protocol – he passed and would have been able to return if needed, but didn’t.
“I probably have the longest neck in the NFL so sometimes when I get hit my head will whip around,” he said.
Now he will have to use that neck to look over his shoulder and see which quarterback is being brought in. With Bridgewater out for the season, General Manager Rick Spielman admitted the Vikings are looking at plenty of options.
“The season is still coming, guys need to get ready and you’ve got to make sure you have people that are ready to play,” Stave said. “I think Shaun is ready to play. I know he’s a good player. He’s well-prepared, and I know the team has a lot of faith in him.”
When it comes to Stave, his best hope is likely the practice squad. With cuts by 3 p.m. Central Saturday and the formation of the practice squad on Sunday, this Labor Day weekend will be one that leaves him wondering if he will still have a job.
“Trying to relax and wait and see what happens. That’s how it is for a lot of guys in my situation. There’s 75 guys on the team right now. By Saturday … it’s got to be 53. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You’ve just got to be patient and try and stay calm and be ready,” he said.
“Maybe I’ll play a little golf or something like that. My family will be around so that will help. College football is starting. Just whatever you can do to try to keep your mind off of everything else.”