The Vikings are heading down an interesting quarterback path this season, and we are only four games in. They signed Josh Freeman, and they didn’t do so just to watch him sit on the bench. At some point this year, there is a good chance he will start a game for them.
Since Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel have already started games at QB, we wondered how unusual it is to have three QBs start at least one game in a season. For the Vikings, it turns out it’s pretty common. It’s happened nine times in franchise history. Here are a few of the most notable seasons (all data from www.pro-football-reference.com):
• 1971: Three quarterbacks stitched together an 11-3 season, and all of them had winning records as starters. Gary Cuozzo was 6-2, Bob Lee was 3-1 and Norm Snead was 2-0. Lee and Cuozzo split duties in the playoff opener — a 20-12 loss to the Cowboys at Met Stadium on Christmas — and combined to throw four interceptions.
• 1984: Also known as the Les Steckel year, this season involved three QBs starting at least two games apiece. None of them completed more than 56 percent of his passes, and the three — Tommy Kramer (2-7), Wade Wilson (1-4) and Archie Manning (0-2) — combined for a 3-13 record and 24 interceptions.
• 1987: This one is notable for being a strike season, and Tony Adams started three times at QB during the infamous games, all losses for Minnesota, with replacement players. Wilson (5-2) and Kramer (3-2) were good enough in the regular games for the Vikings to squeak into the playoffs, and Wilson’s strong play in the playoffs led the Vikings to the NFC title game.
• 2001: Ugly, ugly, ugly. This was one season after the Vikings went to another NFC title game (41-donut). Daunte Culpepper (11 starts), Todd Bouman (three starts) and Spergon Wynn (two starts) dragged the Vikings through a 5-11 season and the end of the Dennis Green era.
• 2010: Another season of ugliness. One year after Brett Favre started all 16 games of a 12-4 season, he faltered and was injured. Favre started 13 games, while Joe Webb (two) and Tarvaris Jackson (one) handled the rest. Brad Childress was fired during the season.