After two games of the Vikings’ preseason schedule, it seems as though their pecking order at quarterback is relatively clear. Sam Bradford and Case Keenum are set to be the No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, respectively, with Taylor Heinicke trying to fight for a roster spot after a difficult start to the preseason and Mitch Leidner a new addition to the roster.
(Teddy Bridgewater, it should be noted, is regularly doing rehab work without a brace on his left knee, but still hasn’t participated in a full practice. So as we approach the anniversary of Bridgewater’s knee injury, there is still much to be learned about where his rehab will go.)
If we assume Bradford and Keenum are locks to be on the roster, then, the major question about the Vikings’ QB situation would be whether the team keeps two or three healthy quarterbacks on the active roster. And while offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said that decision remains above his pay grade, he made it clear on Monday that the Vikings need to remain proactive with their quarterback plan.
“I think it’s extremely important that you’re always developing quarterbacks,” he said. “You just never know how it’s all going to play out, so you just want to keep developing the quarterback position throughout the season, and especially during training camp, so that if for some reason you need a guy, you have a guy ready to go. Again, the final roster decision, that’s a couple weeks to go still, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Vikings liked Heinicke coming into last season, but when a severed foot tendon kept him out for much of the year, he missed his chance to stake his claim to the No. 2 quarterback job. He completed nine of 17 passes for 104 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first two preseason games. Heinicke did not practice on Sunday after getting hurt against Seattle, though his injury is not thought to be serious.
Whether he or Leidner is on the roster, or the practice squad, it seems clear the Vikings want to have at least three healthy quarterbacks in their system. To do otherwise, Shurmur suggested Monday, might leave them exposed to some risk.