If you watched the Minnesota Vikings this preseason, it’s clear they need to upgrade the backup quarterback situation. With the struggles of Jake Browning and Kellen Mond, Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman should be monitoring the waiver wire to add adequate insurance if Kirk Cousins goes down.
That process took a puzzling turn when the Philadelphia Eagles traded a sixth-round conditional pick to acquire Gardner Minshew. While it would have been a reasonable solution behind Cousins, it might not be what the Vikings are looking for. Instead, they could be looking for a better Sean Mannion.
Think about if Kirk Cousins gets hurt. If Cousins blows out a knee, the Vikings season is over no matter who they have behind him. If he tweaks an ankle and misses a couple of games, the Vikings would like to have someone that can at least hold the fort.
For the past two seasons, Mannion was that guy. Mannion is still looking for his first NFL touchdown pass but he’s not an absolute trainwreck when he’s put into the game.
During his lone start for the Vikings in a 2019 Week 17 matchup with the Chicago Bears, Mannion threw for 126 yards and two interceptions. Those numbers aren’t pretty but could have been better with several starters resting and gave the Vikings a chance to win despite the 21-19 loss.
The Vikings could wait and see if Mannion is waived by the Seattle Seahawks but they could also go for an upgrade by signing Blake Bortles. Like Mannion, Bortles can’t be relied upon to save a season. But he’s done enough in the NFL to keep the team from going off the rails.
Bortles has his flaws, mainly as a passer with a 59.3 completion percentage. But while his overall performance leaves plenty to be desired, he gets the concept of allowing his best players to make plays.
In 2015, Allen Robinson posted 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns for a Jaguars team that was toward the bottom of the NFL. Two years later, Bortles fed Leonard Fournette for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns to help lead Jacksonville to the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
Bortles’ career isn’t one that has screamed franchise quarterback but it takes a lot to lead a team that far. Browning, Mond and Mannion don’t have the experience of leading a team to the playoffs let alone a game from the Super Bowl which makes Bortles a reasonable option if the Vikings need it.
With Cousins’ normal risk of injury and his refusal to get the COVID vaccine, the Vikings have to be prepared in case of an absence. Although Bortles couldn’t carry the team for a prolonged stretch, he can do enough to keep them in the game and hopefully steal a victory.