A Former Vikings QB Could Start for Cincinnati in Week 3

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) throws pass in the first quarter of the NFL preseason week 3 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field in Landover, M.D., on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.

In Week 2, we saw a couple injuries pop up for star players across the NFL.

Most notably, it seems that RB Nick Chubb’s season is over after a serious knee injury suffered on Monday night when the Browns took on the Steelers. One day prior, Bengals QB Joe Burrow re-aggravated the calf injury that hampered him during training camp. As a result, his status heading into Week 3 is currently up in the air.

A Former Vikings QB Could Start for Cincinnati in Week 3

Former Vikings QB
Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jake Browning (3) drops back for a handoff against the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said that it’s hard to say whether or not Burrow will be available to play this upcoming weekend.

So, who’s next up on the Bengals depth chart if Burrow is unable to play? Well, none other than former Vikings QB Jake Browning.

Browning, who is in the midst of his fifth NFL season after going undrafted in 2019, spent portions of 2019-2021 with the Vikings. He was largely a practice squad player during those seasons.

During his collegiate years at the University of Washington, Browning was a terrific quarterback. He completed 64.6% of his passes for 12,296 yards, 94 TDs, and just 34 INTs over four seasons. During the 2016 campaign, he tossed a dazzling 43 TDs, leading the PAC-12.

Jan 1, 2019; Pasadena, CA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Browning (3) passes against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the fourth quarter in the 2019 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Browning came into Cincinnati’s Week 1 game and attempted a single pass that fell harmlessly to the ground. To this point, that is the only passing attempt of his regular season career in the NFL.

Should Burrow be unable to play this weekend and moving forward, Cincinnati will be forced to choose between Browning or Will Grier at QB. After an 0-2 start, they are looking to dig themselves out of a hole, much like the Vikings.

Aug 26, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) passes the ball during warmups prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

That doesn’t seem likely to happen sans-Burrow. The Bengals are scheduled to take on what has looked like a very strong Rams team over the first two weeks of the season. LA upset the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 with a dominant 30-13 victory, and they gave the 49ers a battle throughout Week 2 before ultimately falling 30-23.

The injury situation regarding Burrow will become more clear tomorrow when the Bengals release their first injury report of the week, but for now, Browning seems to have a decent chance to make his first career NFL start. If he takes snaps under center for Cincinnati on Sunday, the 27-year-old QB will look to shock the world and help the Bengals avoid a disastrous 0-3 start to the season.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.