Picking 53: Expect 2 QBs on The Vikings Roster

Sean Mannion
Aug 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sean Mannion (4) throws a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As the slower portion of the offseason officially arrives, I’m turning some of my attention toward a projection series. Foremost among fan concerns are what the Vikings 53-man roster will look like. Game #1 takes place on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 3:25 CT, so the clock is ticking.

To kick things off, we’ll have a peak at the QBs. Who makes the roster and why?

Vikings 53-Man Roster: The QBs

Kirk Cousins is this team’s QB1. It doesn’t matter where one falls in the debate about whether he deserves that status. The basic fact is that he’ll be the one under center unless there’s an injury.

Since coming to Minnesota, Cousins has offered reasonably strong play from the quarterback spot. Unfortunately, that hasn’t translated to the team winning with any consistency. Some put a lot of blame on him for that reality; others spread the blame out across other portions of the team. Regardless, the basic facts are that he’s been here for four years. His play has been pretty good; the team’s overall play has been mostly lackluster.

There is good reason to have some skepticism about how much money he makes, and yet there’s little debate that he is among the league’s top 15 QBs. Last season, he had more than 4200 passing yards and 33 TDs (his broader career stats are similarly impressive). He has always been very accurate and very durable. Partner those things with a really nice deep ball and it’s not difficult to see why he has his supporters.

The real debate rests in who will be backing him up.

Kellen Mond ought to be considered the frontrunner. The sophomore is coming off of a disappointing rookie season where he wasn’t in a good spot with Mike Zimmer. He now gets a fresh start, the chance to impress a new leadership group. He offers a far higher ceiling than Sean Mannion, the main competition for the QB2 spot. Don’t forget that Mond had a lot of supporters heading into the 2021 draft. One underwhelming year doesn’t drain Mond of all his potential.

Mannion’s appeal is that he functions as another coach for Cousins. He’s a backup who lends his brain to the on-field performance rather than his actual play. Folks, there is a lot of value in having a trusted veteran who can help the starter decode what is occurring on the field. Nevertheless, one wonders if that’s important enough to the Vikings for Mannion take one of those coveted 53-man roster spots. Could be kept in Minnesota on the practice squad? That would allow him to remain in the building during the week and to help on the sidelines during games.

Nate Stanley – who was a 2020 seventh rounder – has very little chance of sticking around. Snagging a practice squad spot would be best case for the young QB.

The Send Off

It may sound like a lot of spots on the team, but the Vikings know that a 53-man roster can fill up pretty quickly. Each spot on the team is valuable, so I’m in favor of a solution that involves keeping 3 QBs in the building but only 2 on the roster.

The assumption ought to be that Cousins will be slinging the football for 17 games in 2022. If that doesn’t occur, then I expect Mond will be the one who gets the opportunity to lead the Vikings offense. The sophomore at least gives Minnesota a slim chance of succeeding, and that has to count for something.