There’s been plenty of cult favorite type players involved in the Minnesota Vikings training camps over the years. Kyle Sloter’s supporters remain strong (anchored by his father), but Taylor Heinecke once had quite the backing as well. He never appeared for Minnesota, but he’s now set to do so against them for the first time. So, is the Heinicke show-out coming against the Vikings?
The former Minnesota Vikings training camp body bounced around between the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers before being out of the NFL for the 2019 season entirely.
After signing with the Washington Commanders in 2020, and appearing in one game, he became the regular starter a season ago. That appeared to be over when Daniel Snyder…or Ron Rivera…or someone else traded for Carson Wentz.
Unfortunately the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback never found his former self and the Commanders were forced to bench their newly acquired starter. Now two games in as the starter, Heinecke has won both and looked the part of a quarterback that went 7-8 as a starter a season ago.
It’s hardly a knock to suggest a .500 quarterback is a bad thing. Kirk Cousins made a six-year career out of that type of production with Washington, but Heinecke is still trying to establish himself in the NFL. Wanting to do so against a team that moved on following a self-inflicted injury could be a certain level of fun.
Prior to the 2017 season, Heinecke attempted to help a friend by breaking back into his apartment and suffered a severed tendon in his foot. That ended the time in purple before it ever got off the ground. Now with 17 starts under his belt over the past two seasons, and a decent amount of success to his credit, this should be a game he’s looking forward to playing in.
The Vikings defense has been lackluster this season, especially when attacking the passing game, so Heinecke should represent a get right opportunity for them. Looking at who wins the matchup could go a long ways to determining how far this group has come since Week 1, but there needs to be a level of pride for Ed Donatell’s group against a quarterback forced into action.
There’s no reason to think this is a game Minnesota will lose, but they certainly need to put their best foot forward on the field to make that a reality.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.