At signal caller for the Minnesota Vikings, the starter is… who? That is the question that could be worth $60 to $100 million for the Vikings this offseason, as the icy north has already seen turnover at the position.
Both Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater have been allowed to hit the free agent market. While no word has gone out on the status of the third free agent, Sam Bradford is likely another departure.
The Vikings have quickly gone from a surplus to three quarterbacks all hitting free agency and with good reason: between two players with serious knee injury histories and a career backup, none seemed too worthy of the money they would have required to keep.
With all that in mind, the Vikings seem to be one of the top teams on the market for a leader in the backfield. According to SB Nation’s Daily Norseman site, the Vikings have roughly $57.2 Million in cap space for the 2018 season. With so much cap space, the Vikings have the 7th most available spending money in the NFL headed into free agency. So who should the target be?
Who is on the market
There are a few options for the Vikings, especially because of cap room they command. While Drew Brees is a fun free agent to fantasize about, he is likely headed back to New Orleans. Josh McCown is also a free agent, but would likely be an even bigger gamble than Keenum was last season, with a much steeper downside.
Kirk Cousins seems to be the natural fit for the Vikings following the Washington Redskins trading for Alex Smith and effectively terminating the relationship. Cousins completed the 2017 season with 4,093 passing yards, the third consecutive season he has topped 4,000 yards. He also has had 25 or more passing touchdowns in that span. Cousins has shown the ability to lead a team through the course of a season more than once, proving that he is a quarterback capable of making impact plays every week. He would also be a good fit in the Vikings run-heavy offense, as he was one of the top passers in play-action sets and for the first two months of the season, boasted a 152 QBR rating off play-action.
There are drawbacks too. He has thrown 36 interceptions in the past three seasons, forcing the ball in crunch time and giving games away nearly as often as he takes them. There is no doubt some risk in signing Cousins, especially at the money he is looking for, but he may be the best option that is actually on the market.
The other option (granted this is a dark horse) is freshly released, A.J. McCarron. He is on the market after winning his suit against the Cincinnati Bengals, who placed him on injured reserve without proper cause. He has shown enough talent to manage the Vikings offense and would be a far cheaper option.
If the Vikings would rather make their long-term investment in the deep quarterback class entering the 2018 NFL Draft, McCarron could be a cheap Band-Aid for the developmental seasons of the rookie acquisition.
Whichever route the Vikings take, the quarterback of the future is apparently not currently on the Vikings roster.
Photo: FILE – In this Dec. 31, 2017, file photo, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, in East Rutherford, N.J. The NFL’s offseason features plenty of intrigue beyond where Kirk Cousins and dozens of other quarterbacks will land.
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)