With his stance on being vaccinated against COVID-19 absolutely clear now, here are some quarterbacks the Vikings can pursue as Kirk Cousins insurance.
For a night practice on July 31, the Minnesota Vikings had one quarterback available–Jake Browning. Rookie Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID-19, with Kirk Cousins and Nate Stanley deemed high-risk close contacts. The strong insinuation was all of the latter three are not vaccinated, while Browning is.
Based on the NFL’s protocols, without venturing into any other discussion, two people within a team practically have to be vaccinated–the head coach and the starting quarterback. For a team like the Vikings, without a proven option behind him, Cousins being subject to as few restrictions as possible, and being available every week, takes on extra importance.
On Thursday, when he came off the COVID-19 list, Cousins made his stance on the vaccine absolutely clear. Talking about it being a personal medical decision in regard to his vaccine status, and to not disclose it, is one thing. But talk about putting plexiglass around himself, and blaming the size of the quarterback meeting room for his close contact to Mond, is just the latest example of his lack of self-awareness. If nothing else he did not come off as a team leader, but the Vikings’ reported league-low vaccination rate reflects him as an “if he won’t, why should I?” example.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had made his stance on being vaccinated clear, and it’s not a political stance at all. He wants to win games, and having as many players as possible with as few restrictions as possible (again, based purely on the NFL’s protocols) will be beneficial to that. If that aforementioned Saturday was a day before a game, Cousins would not have been able to play. No offense to Browning, who has an opportunity in front of him, but that would have almost surely been a mark in the loss column for the Vikings in what’s easy to see as a critical season for Zimmer.
Simply put the Vikings need a better backup plan on the chance, despite his profession to be “vigilant” regarding protocols, Cousins will miss a game (or multiple games) one way or another due to COVID-19. So what are their options?
4 quarterbacks the Vikings can pursue as Kirk Cousins insurance
It’s faint praise to be sure, but Foles is probably the best No. 3 quarterback in the NFL. The Bears have remade their depth chart with the signing of Andy Dalton and the drafting of Justin Fields, leaving the former Super Bowl MVP as an expensive third-stringer who simply won’t see the field in anything other than a worst-case scenario where Dalton and Fields are seriously injured.
In the wake of Carson Wentz’s foot injury, with his past tie to head coach Frank Reich, Foles has been easy to tie to the Indianapolis Colts. But the Colts don’t seem inclined to trade for someone just yet, and Jay Glazer’s report on Wentz Thursday night suggests optimism he’ll be back on the early end of a 5-12 week timeline.
Compared to what the Vikings have behind Cousins, Foles is at least a known quantity with starting experience. As uninspiring as it is, Foles belongs on any list like this for any of the other 31 NFL teams.