A Former Vikings QB Made His First NFL Start in Week 12

Aug 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jake Browning (3) prepares to throw a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings did not play a game on Sunday.

However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of other very entertaining action across the league. One such matchup on Sunday took place between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, during which former Vikings QB Jake Browning made his first career NFL regular season start.

Former Vikings QB Makes First NFL Start

Former Vikings QB
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) drops back with the ball in the first quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.

Browning got his NFL career started as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings back in 2019. He spent his collegiate career with the Washington Huskies where he threw for 12,296 yards, 94 TDs, and just 34 INTs over the course of four seasons from 2015-18.

The QB spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons on the Vikings practice squad before being scooped up by the Bengals prior to the start of the 2021 campaign. Since then, he’s bounced up and down between Cincinnati’s practice squad and active roster.

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 second quarter at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In a huge AFC North battle, the Bengals and Steelers have been jostling for playoff position for weeks. The Steelers entered Week 12 with a 6-4 record while the Bengals were 5-5 coming into the weekend, and this is the situation that Browning found himself in the thick of going into his first NFL start.

However, the outlook for Bengals has quickly changed since Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending injury. For the rest of the way they are hoping that Browning can help keep them in the hunt down the stretch of the year.

Unfortunately, things got off to a bit of a rough start for the former Viking as Cincinnati fell by a score of 16-10 on Sunday, going back under .500 at 5-6 for the season. Browning completed 19 of his 26 passes for 227 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

Nov 26, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) is pressured by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Mykal Walker (38) in the third quarter at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Now at 5-6, the Bengals are back near the bottom of the pack in the AFC, sitting a game behind the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 7 seed in the conference. The Broncos, Texans, and Bills sit above them in the playoff race as well.

This weekend, the Browning-led Bengals will travel to Jacksonville and take on the Jaguars in another pivotal AFC matchup. A few weeks after that in Week 15, Cincinnati will also play host to Browning’s former team, the Vikings, as they continue their final push for a playoff spot.

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.