Knock knock, Packer nation, it’s me, Ethan, a Vikings writer. I come bearing good news. So flip your cheese-loving cheeks over to the couch and let me tell you why the Gardner Minshew trade is a big positive for your beloved Green and Gold.
Like many Vikings fans, for years I reveled in the continued employment of Ted Thompson. Sure, he helped you win a Super Bowl, but then the man clearly and immediately bought into his own hype as a team-building guru. Despite having one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever put on a uniform, year after year Thompson was unable to put together a roster that both Aaron Rodgers and the state of Wisconsin deserved. You were cemented into the upper echelon of football purgatory: too good for Thompson to get fired, but not good enough to get the job done.
As a thank you for those years of petty enjoyment, I will now give you an in-depth look at the current thought process of this diehard Viking fan.
In case you have been more focused on your own QB situation, I have some news from across state lines: Kellen Mond has been a disaster in the preseason.
My feelings on Kirk Cousins are well-documented, and the very realistic odds of his absence during the season have raised scrutiny on an otherwise forgotten position, the backup QB. For years the Vikings have stuck with “second-contract” backups who have a particular lack of upside, like Sean Mannion and Trevor Siemian. Feeling the Kirk Cousins heat this offseason, Rick Spielman finally went the Bill Belichick route by drafting a rookie in the first three rounds to develop behind the established starter. Stepping into the Big Boy Club, Spielman spent the second pick of the third round on Texas A & M’s Kellen Mond.
Now, I won’t pretend to know anything about college football, but I do know the NFL, and Kellen Mond looks like he is about as good at reading the middle of the field as Tim Tebow is at blocking from the TE position. Through three games Mond is 28/51 with 310 yards, one interception, and three fumbles. Yikes.
I’m not here to murder Spielman for picking of a guy who was projected to be developmental. Yet, you can’t tell me this is a rebuilt Super Bowl-contending team led by a quarterback in this precious situation and then roll into the season with Mond as your backup. He isn’t ready, and Spielman has his blinders on.
I know this because Middle America Heartthrob and legendary mustache owner Gardner Minshew was shipped out to the Eagles for a sixth-round draft pick after Urban Meyer finally committed to Trevor Lawrence for opening day. To his credit, Spielman loves accumulating these late-round picks with trade-downs on draft night. But, guess what, those picks are always terrible. You are supposed to use them for opportunities like this.
Yes, Minshew sort of fits into that bucket of backup QBs Minnesota has relied on in the past, but two important details made him desirable for this team right now. First, Minshew is much better than past backups. He has real starter experience with a damn fun opening run to his career, vaulting him to internet fame. More importantly, the Vikings have never gone into a season during an open-society pandemic with a guy who won’t do the simplest, most basic civil duty of protecting himself and others. Minshew was absolutely worth a sixth-round pick to this team.
Spielman watched the second half in the booth Friday while being interviewed by voice of the Vikings Paul Allen. With Allen exuding major Vegas Pit Boss Energy, these two took in the third and, traditionally, most pivotal preseason game for his team.
The game included the most extended view of Mond to date. And boy did he disappoint with overthrows, a bad interception, and a fumble caused by holding onto the ball too long. You’re going to tell me that Spielman watched this game from the booth and didn’t immediately realize his Cousins insurance for this season was blowing up in his face?
I’m not saying Spielman hasn’t made some tremendous moves as a general manager. There is clearly star talent all over the team. But he has continually and extensively failed to put together a meaningful solution at both the quarterback and offensive line positions, once again creating a team that might be good but almost certainly won’t be good enough.
I’m also not saying that Packer fans should feel lucky the Vikings don’t have Gardner Minshew on their team. That would be absolutely insane. It’s just another example in a long list of examples that should give the Green Bay faithful confidence (which you honestly don’t need – more than half of you think Jordan Love will be elite.)
So, as your Lambeau warriors march into a season that might be Aaron Rodgers’ last dance, take extra comfort in the fact that your main division rival has an overrated quarterback at the helm and absolutely nothing behind him. On the grander scale, as you likely transition to the Jordan Love era, enjoy Spielman’s time in the Ted Thompson Zone. The Gardner Minshew trade was just further proof, and as a Packers fan you should celebrate it.