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Four Outside Options for the Vikings Backup QB Spot


Apr 30, 2022; Birmingham, AL, USA; Tampa Bay Bandits quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (10) throws against the Houston Gamblers during the first half at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings played their first preseason game this past weekend, and we got to see a ton of the two backup QBs as Kirk Cousins did not travel to Las Vegas because of his positive Covid test. Sean Mannion gave us largely what we expected, and while Kellen Mond made some nice throws, there were certainly a few stinkers mixed in. I’m still of the mindset that the Vikings could look outside the organization for a backup while they continue to stash Mond, so here are four options that they could look at.

Nick Mullens

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Myron Mitchell (87) and Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Nick Mullens (9) pose after the game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Derek Carr and Jarrett Stidham on the roster, the Las Vegas Raiders theoretically could be comfortable trading Nick Mullens to a team in need of a backup QB. The Vikings got their look at Mullens on Sunday as the veteran completed 7/9 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Mullens has started 17 games throughout his four-year NFL career, with his best stretch of games coming in 2018 during his rookie season with San Francisco. The Niners went 3-5 over the eight games, and Mullens tossed for 2277 yards, 13 TDs, and 10 INTs. Mullens is the definition of a gunslinger, averaging 243.1 yards per game throughout his career while passing for a total 26 TDs and 22 INTs. Is he as good as Kirk Cousins? No. Would he be the best backup option if Las Vegas put him on the market? I believe so.

Blake Bortles

Dec 1, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Blake Bortles (5) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Row the boat, am I right? Blake Bortles has not seen live NFL snaps in a few years, but he would likely be the fastest to pick up Kevin O’Connell’s offense given that he spent time with the Rams during the 2019 and 2020 seasons as Jared Goff’s backup. O’Connell was only the OC for the 2020 season in LA, but extensive knowledge of a Sean McVay offense should translate well to O’Connell’s.

Bortles claim to fame is being the starting QB for the Jaguars team that shocked the world by making the AFC Championship game during the 2017 season. That playoff experience is enticing, no doubt, but much of that team’s success can be attributed to a terrific defense. No matter what though, Bortles experience of 73 starts makes him an intriguing candidate if Minnesota wants to find another QB to enter the position battle.

Mike Glennon

Jan 2, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon (2) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

If O’Connell values having a player with NFL starting experience, Mike Glennon is an underwhelming option, but there are very few exciting ones out there. Glennon has been a league journeyman since being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent three years there before making stops in Chicago, Arizona, Oakland, Jacksonville, and last year he made four starts for the New York Giants.

Glennon has started 31 NFL games, and his teams have lost 26 of them. This statistic is worrying if he were to be thrust into the Vikings starting lineup, but looking at the teams he’s played for, it’s hard to expect much else. Glennon has been thrown into dumpster fire organizations, and he’s been expected to be the fire hydrant.

The only four games that the 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers won were when Glennon started. The 2014 Bucs went 2-14, but in his first of five weeks filling in for Josh McCown, Glennon threw for 302 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a Week 4 victory over the Steelers. The 2017 Chicago Bears went 5-11 in Mitchell Trubisky’s rookie season before John Fox was fired.

Most recently, Glennon’s teams have gone 0-9 in his last two years with the Jaguars and Giants, two franchises perpetually landing in the top-five of the draft with or without him. Perhaps Minnesota is the one place where Glennon is given a solution to the puzzle as the Vikings backup QB rather than the team expecting him to solve it himself.

Jordan Ta’amu

May 7, 2022; Birmingham, AL, USA; Tampa Bay Bandits quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (10) throws against the Birmingham Stallions during the first half at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

This one’s for the fans of a good, old-fashioned underdog story. Jordan Ta’amu went undrafted out of Ole Miss in 2019, but it sure wasn’t for a lack of playmaking. With the Rebels, the “Throwin’ Samoan” passed for 3918 yards, 19 TDs, and 8 INTs during his final season of SEC football. In 2019, he signed with the Houston Texans, but never played a game as Houston kept only Deshaun Watson and A.J. McCarron on their NFL roster.

2020 was his first taste of professional football as he played five games for the St. Louis BattleHawks in the XFL. In these games he completed 72.4% of his passes while throwing for 1050 yards, 5 TDs, and a pair of interceptions.

Finally, he participated in the Washington Commanders minicamp this spring, and then this summer he hopped into the USFL, playing for the Tampa Bay Bandits. Tampa Bay went 4-6 while Ta’amu led the league in passing yards (2,015) and touchdowns (14). Obviously, the former Ole Miss QB has never played at the NFL level, but if the Vikings want to give a workout to another young guy with big playmaking ability, it’d be very interesting to see what Ta’amu could do.

Final Thoughts

No matter what happens, the hope remains that whoever wins the Vikings backup QB job never sees the field in important snaps. Historically, having Kirk Cousins on the roster is a good way of ensuring that, but the next play could always change that in the NFL. I’m furiously knocking on wood hoping that Cousins stays healthy, but a quality backup will make us all feel a lot better if the trend changes.

Mond showed some positive signs towards the end of Minnesota’s first preseason game, but this feels a lot like the shows Kyle Sloter used to put on against end-of-the-bench defenses. If Mond can build off this momentum and play well early in the 49ers game, perhaps that could change my stance on the matter. For now, I’m still of the opinion that bringing in another player to compete with Mond for the Vikings backup QB spot would be beneficial all-around.


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