4 Free Agent QB Options for the Vikings

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell walks on the field before the start of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have a big decision to make at the quarterback position this offseason.

Of course, they could opt to re-sign Kirk Cousins, but that likely hinges on the overall structure in terms of years and guaranteed money that Cousins desires. If the veteran incumbent doesn’t return, Minnesota is very likely to take a stab at their QB of the future. However, they could also look to bring in a veteran free agent to help take the burden off a rookie early on. Here is a look at four free agent QB options they could look at this spring.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Non-Vikings Moves
Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) interacts with the crowd before the start of the game against the Minnesota Vikings in a NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo technically isn’t a free agent yet, but all expectations are that the Las Vegas Raiders will release him in the coming weeks after he was suspended for the first two games of the 2024 season for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy.

Adam Schefter of ESPN had the suspension news first, tweeting, “Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo is being suspended two games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Policy, league sources told ESPN. The policy violation is related to him using a prescribed medication without having a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption, per sources.”

After beginning his career as the backup to Tom Brady in New England, Garoppolo has spent the majority of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, leading them to a Super Bowl berth during the 2019 season and another NFC Championship Game appearance in 2021.

Of course, Garoppolo won’t be able to play the first two games of the 2024 season wherever he goes, but if the Vikings cannot bring back Cousins and want a veteran in their QB room, Garoppolo could be one of the better options on the free agency market.

Sam Darnold

Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) look on during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

After being selected with the third overall pick back in 2018 by the New York Jets, Sam Darnold has had a very tumultuous career. The QB spent three seasons in New York and went 13-25 as a starter. He completed 59.8% of his passes for 8097 yards, 45 TDs, and 39 interceptions.

Following that three-year stint in New York, Darnold was traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2021, and he spent two seasons there, starting 17 games and going 8-9. He completed 59.5% of his passes for 3670 yards, 16 TDs, and 16 interceptions. He then signed with the 49ers to be Brock Purdy’s backup this season.

Darnold was actually name-dropped by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network as a potential option for the Vikings this year, who said on a recent episode of NFL Insiders, “[The Vikings] would like to re-sign Kirk Cousins, who is set to become a free agent in March, but my anticipation is Cousins will have a strong market even at age-35 coming off a torn Achilles. […] If in fact the price tag goes too high, the Vikings likely would pursue a more economical veteran. One guy that’s a possibility? Sam Darnold, the 49ers current backup.”

Gardner Minshew

Free Agent
Dec 3, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) celebrates with teammates after throwing the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After rookie Anthony Richardson went down with a season-ending injury this season, Gardner Minshew stepped into the starting QB role and kept Indianapolis in playoff contention up until the very end of the season with a 7-6 record in his 13 starts.

Minshew burst onto the scene in 2019 by combining solid play with a strong personality. During his 2019 rookie season with the Jags, he started 12 games, during which Jacksonville went 6-6, and recorded 3271 passing yards, 21 TDs, and 6 INTs. Since then, he has largely served as a backup until he was forced into the starting lineup in Indianapolis during 2023. Perhaps Minnesota can be the place where he finally solidifies himself as a starter.

Tyler Huntley

Jan 20, 2024; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) warms up before a 2024 AFC divisional round game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings tried to give a mobile QB a shot when they traded for Josh Dobbs in the wake of Cousins’ Achilles injury. However, the turnovers simply piled up too much by the end of Dobbs’ starting stint for him to be a viable option.

Tyler Huntley is liable for turnovers at times as well, but he has spent the past four seasons learning under two-time MVP Lamar Jackson. He offers terrific mobility in the pocket and is capable of leading an offense with sharp accuracy in the short and intermediate levels of the field.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

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.

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