Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking a positional look at the Minnesota Vikings and the potential free agents that will be available. Today we look at quarterbacks, a position the Vikings may well have an interest in.
What makes this year’s free-agent quarterback class interesting is that there may be a couple of big names added to it – Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. Both have seemingly worn out their welcome as it pertains to their salaries and where they stand with their current teams. Adding both of them to the pool will make it even deeper than it already is.
Given how much the Vikings are paying Sam Bradford ($18 million) and Bridgewater ($2.2 million), there may not be a lot of money to play with. The Vikings likely aren’t going to go heavily into the veteran free-agent market, unless there is an assurance that Bridgewater will sit in 2017.
The plum of the free-agent market is Washington’s Kirk Cousins, but he is going to be in the high-rent district, whether he re-signs with the Redskins or hits the open market. But there aren’t many other veterans who will get huge contract offers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick played hardball with the Jets and had an awful season, almost assuring himself of not being back in New York. Still, he easily could get $4 million for a backup contract, which is likely too rich for the Vikings’ blood.
However, there may be some interest in other backups. Here are a few the Vikings could consider if they’re not content with the combination of Bradford, Bridgewater (if available) and Taylor Heinicke.
Mark Sanchez – It may not be as crazy as it sounds, but, like Bradford, he played in Pat Shurmur’s offense in Philly and would come in hitting the ground running. He was paid just $2 million last season, which would seem to be in Minnesota’s budget.
Mike Glennon – He was supposed to be the starter in Tampa Bay, but when Jameis Winston came along, his value dropped like a stone. The Vikings wouldn’t get in a bidding war for him, but he has the intangibles general managers and coaches look for in quarterbacks and, at 27, still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Ryan Mallett – The Vikings were rumored to be interested when he was last available. He’s played with New England, Houston and Baltimore and hasn’t made a big impression anywhere he has been.
Brian Hoyer – His was one of the names that emerged in the immediate aftermath of the Bridgewater injury and was paid just $2 million by the Bears last year. But, if Chicago parts ways with Cutler, he may have more value to stay with the Bears than potentially go to a division rival.
E.J. Manuel – An athletic bust in Buffalo, he has the skill to be an interesting project in the right scheme and could have big-time potential. The QB situation in Buffalo is in flux because they’re not going to pay Tyrod Taylor the money due on his current contract, so Manuel’s availability may be in question if the new coaching staff in Buffalo wants to keep him.
Geno Smith – Another former starter from the AFC East, Smith has talent but threw too many interceptions and made too many poor decisions as a starter for the Jets. If he can pick up Shurmur’s offense, his athleticism could be enticing.
Case Keenum – A former part-time starter with the Texans and Rams, at age 28 he will be looking for his third team in five years. He has been a decent starter who could be viewed as a valid backup.
Matt McGloin – With Derek Carr and Connor Cook under contract, there isn’t much incentive for the Raiders to re-sign McGloin, but, at 27, he would be a decent young option who wouldn’t break the bank to sign.
Landry Jones – Ben Roethlisberger’s backup, he held up fairly well when Big Ben has been injured. He likely wouldn’t break the bank either.
Matt Cassel – He was a former starter for the Vikings and Rick Spielman likes him, so, for $2 million or less, he would be available.
Josh McCown – Like Hill, he’s 37, which may take him out of the running in Spielman’s mind.
Christian Ponder – Just bringing up his name to let people know he’s available, but you know the history.