Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t the only perfect Vikings quarterback Saturday night in Dallas.
Undrafted rookie Taylor Heinicke continued to push his candidacy for a spot as the team’s third quarterback with his 11-for-11 performance against the Cowboys.
Entering the game in the second half, he led a 73-yard drive for the eventual game-winning touchdown, capping it with a two-point conversion pass to Chase Ford.
Later in the game he led another TD drive. In between, he drove the team into field goal range, but Blair Walsh missed the kick.
“The funny thing is I actually would have had a better game if I was 10-for-11,” Heinicke said. “There was a screen pass [to Joe Banyard] there I should have just thrown at the ground. There is always room for improvement, but I thought I had a pretty good game.’’
Heinicke and former Northwestern player Mike Kafka have been competing for a position behind Bridgewater and veteran Shaun Hill, even though there is no guarantee the team will keep a third quarterback on the roster. Kafka, who has a hamstring injury and likely won’t play Thursday at Tennessee, entered the league in 2010 and is not eligible for the practice squad; Heinicke would be, if he cleared waivers.
But Heinicke has stated a case for becoming the first Old Dominion player to make an NFL roster despite his relative lack of size.
Listed at 6-1, Heinicke has completed 30 of 41 passes in the preseason for 237 yards.
“He did well,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s still a young quarterback trying to find his way in a lot of things. But he made the plays the other night and he’s done a good job this camp. We’ll have to see where everything unfolds.’’
A Georgia native, Heinicke said he really didn’t start thinking about a potential NFL career until 2014. when, as a senior, he helped ODU make the jump from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision level to Football Bowl Subdivision.
“It got me out there against better competition,” he said. “Near the end of the season my quarterbacks coach in college was telling me I was going to get into a camp somewhere. From that point forward I’ve been working my butt off trying to get better.’’
The Vikings placed cornerback Josh Robinson on the physically unable to perform list and waived injured tackle Carter Bykowski. Robinson partly tore a pectoral muscle during spring workouts, and Bykowski, who could be placed on injured reserve if he clears waivers, tore a pectoral muscle during the preseason. One more move needs to be made by Tuesday to reach the roster limit of 75.
Robinson will be eligible to return as early as Week 7. At that point, the Vikings have a five-week window in which Robinson can return to practice. Once that happens, the team has three weeks to add him to the active roster.
• Center John Sullivan (back) missed practice again, and has been sidelined 12 days. Also sitting out were nose tackle Shamar Stephen and linebacker Brian Peters. Tight end MyCole Pruitt, who missed the past two preseason games because of an ankle injury, returned to practice.
• Zimmer said he is not concerned about Walsh. The fourth-year kicker has made four of nine field-goal attempts in the preseason. On Saturday against the Cowboys, he hit from 28 and 45 yards, but he missed a 43-yarder. “I’m really not concerned,” Zimmer said. “I think if Blair would have had a poor night Saturday then I’d be more concerned.’’
• Zimmer wouldn’t say how much, if any, the starters would play in the preseason finale. “The guys who need to play will play,” he said.
• Thursday’s game in Tennessee is a special one for former Gophers receiver Isaac Fruechte. His U teammate David Cobb is with the Titans as is defensive lineman Karl Klug. Klug and Fruechte are both from Caledonia.