Minnesota Vikings Rumors & News

Michael Floyd Wants To Re-Sign With Vikings

The Vikings Need A Quarterback In 2018

Currently boasting a 10-3 record and holding the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture, the Vikings are the best NFL team without a clear quarterback plan for 2018. Sure, the Jaguars and Bills could be making changes under center this offseason, but neither of those clubs have the overall talent — at running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, and on the defensive side of the ball — that does Minnesota.

The Vikings have excelled with Case Keenum and (for a one game) Sam Bradford throwing the ball, but both of those signal-callers — and the now-recovered Teddy Bridgewater — are free agents in 2018. Complicating matters is that incumbent offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is expected to draw head coaching interest during next year’s hiring cycle, and if Minnesota is forced to bring in a new play-caller, he may want to choose his own quarterback.

Whether or not Shurmur returns, the Vikings are going to have several difficult decisions to make over the next few months. Let’s take a look at the club’s options at quarterback, beginning with the players currently on their roster:

Internal Options

Case Keenum: A journeyman who’d posted a quarterback rating of just 78.4 during his first five years in the NFL, Keenum is in the midst of his best season as a pro. His passer rating of 96.2 ranks ninth in the league, while he’s seventh among QBs with 6.99 adjusted net yards per attempt. Keenum has only taken 15 sacks on the year (fewest among quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts), which speaks not only to improvements along the Vikings’ offensive line, but Keenum’s ability to evade pressure.Case Keenum (vertical)

Keenum, who is playing on a one-year, $2MM contract, appears poised to cash in this offseason, and it wouldn’t be a total surprise if he garners a deal that approaches $18MM annually, especially given the number of teams looking for quarterback help. That figure won’t be a problem for the Vikings, who rank sixth in available 2018 cap space, but it’s unclear if Minnesota views Keenum as a long-term option. The Vikings reportedly haven’t begun extension negotiations with Keenum or any other their quarterbacks, and don’t plan to do so until the 2017 concludes.

That Minnesota hasn’t started contract talks with Keenum is a bit odd, if only because the club will likely face competition to retain Keenum if he hits the open market. The Broncos, Jaguars, Bills, Jets, Browns, and Cardinals are among the teams who could be searching for a quarterback this offseason, so the Vikings may want to take advantage of their exclusive negotiating window. While Minnesota will have the option of deploying the franchise tag on Keenum, the steep price tag (~$23M) makes that course of action unlikely.

Teddy Bridgewater: One of the more inspiring stories in the NFL this year, Bridgewater has valiantly worked his way back from a knee injury suffered prior to the 2016 season. Bridgewater, a first-round pick in 2014, hasn’t played a single snap this season after being activated in early November, but he’s serving as Keenum’s direct backup. It’s fair to wonder if the Vikings will attempt to get a look at Bridgewater in live action over the last three games of the regular season, but the club’s fight for playoff seeding could preclude them from removing Keenum from any of the next three contests.

While the Vikings clearly have a soft spot for Bridgewater (they were “tempted” to start him last month), it’s important to remember that the 25-year-old didn’t exactly light it up from 2014-15. Among the 30 quarterbacks who attempted at least 500 passes in those two seasons, Bridgewater ranked 22nd in passer rating, 25th in adjusted net yards per attempt, and 29th in touchdown percentage. Bridgewater didn’t have the benefit of Minnesota’s current weapons (Adam Thielen was a special teams player until 2016), but it’s difficult to argue there isn’t any risk in relying on Bridgewater.Sam Bradford (Vertical)

Sam Bradford: Bradford did what he could as the Vikings’ starter in 2016: while playing behind arguably the league’s worst offensive line, Bradford set an NFL record for completion percentage but struggled to get the ball down the field, finishing just 23rd in air yards. An excellent 2017 season opener (346 yards, three touchdowns against the Saints) offered hope for the current campaign, but recurring knee issues limited Bradford to only one more half of play before he was placed on injured reserve in November.

Given his injury risk, Bradford may have to accept a one-year, incentive-laden deal this offseason. Depending on the price, such a contract could potentially interest the Vikings, especially if they also re-sign Bridgewater or another low-cost quarterback. Bradford, 30, should have a market, but with a number of enticing options available as free agents this offseason, his knee problems will likely limit his overall earning power.

Free Agents

Drew Brees: Brees’ contract with the Saints will void on the final day of the 2017 league year, and if New Orleans doesn’t reach an extension with its franchise quarterback, he’ll count for $18MM in dead money on the club’s 2018 salary cap. Recent reports have indicated no negotiations have occurred between the two sides, but it’s frankly odd to consider Brees playing for any other club, especially since the Saints have added several exciting young players and improved their defense.

If Brees does consider other teams, though, the Vikings would immediately jump to the top of list. In some ways, Minnesota and New Orleans have similar roster makeups that include solid offensive lines, effective running games, multiple pass-catching weapons, and playmaking defenses. Again, Brees returning to the Saints seems like a near-lock, but the Vikings and their win-now roster would make for a possible fit if he leaves.Kirk Cousins (Vertical)

Kirk Cousins: Washington’s decision to not extend Cousins looks worse and worse as the season progresses, as the club has now paid its quarterback nearly $44MM over the past two years. A third consecutive franchise tag for Cousins would cost the Redskins $34.5MM in 2018, and the team is reportedly no longer considering the cheaper transition tag, a tender which would make it easier for rival teams to make Cousins offers. Cousins will require the largest and longest contract of any contract on this list, but he’d solve the Vikings’ quarterback question for years to come.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 12/15/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

  • Promoted to active roster: S Ryan Murphy

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Waived off injured reserve: DE Evan Panfil

Jerome Felton To Retire

Unable to land an NFL contract this year, former Pro Bowler Jerome Felton spent the 2017 season out of the game. Unless something changes in the next few weeks, he says he’s walking away from football. Jerome Felton (vertical)

I guess if I were to get a call over the next few weeks I would answer, but this will be my last year regardless,” the nine-year veteran told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I had a good run. I’m happy with how my career has went. I played a long time, but times are changing for fullbacks. I’m not going to just hang around waiting for a call. That’s not my mentality.”

Felton did not receive any offers as a free agent, though he says he did draw some interest from the Jets. The 31-year-old spent the last two years with the Bills, but the new regime was not interested in a reunion. The lack of opportunities, he says, stems from a growing number of teams who are not utilizing a fullback.

A lot has to do with the quarterbacks coming out of college; they run that scheme,” Felton said. “And sometimes offensive coordinators want to be the latest, greatest in new inventions, and they think they have to do a bunch of crazy stuff to operate on offense.”

Felton played nine seasons in the NFL with the Lions, Colts, Panthers, Vikings, and Bills.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/14/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/12/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

  • Waived: OL Korren Kirven

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pat Shurmur Generating Head Coaching Buzz

  • Pat Shurmur is generating “a ton of interest” as a head coaching candidate, so the Vikings could soon be searching for a new offensive coordinator, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. Shurmur has head coaching experience, as he lead the Browns from 2011-12 and also served as the Eagles’ interim head coach at the tail end of the 2015 season. Running an offense with journeyman Case Keenum under center, Shurmur has led Minnesota to a No. 8 ranking in offensive DVOA, so it’s no surprise that other teams around the NFL have taken notice of his efforts.

Vikings Livid At Perceived Inconsistencies In NFL's Punishments

  • The Vikings were among the most vocal of the teams speaking out this week against the perceived inconsistencies in punishments doled out by the league, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. Minnesota safety Andrew Sendejo was suspended for a game earlier this year due to a hit he delivered on Ravens’ wideout Mike Wallace — and that suspension was upheld on appeal — but when Bengals safety George Iloka had his suspension for a similar hit reduced on appeal this week, Vikings officials were quickly on the phone with the league office.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/8/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Arizona Cardinals

  • S Cedric Thompson (link)

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

  • WRs Darel Walker, Brandon Zylstra; DE Craig Roh; DBs Jonathon Mincy, Kacy Rodgers (link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • RB Roy Finch (link)