While Trevor Siemian is shifting gears in his career, taking a step back from Broncos starter to Vikings backup behind Kirk Cousins, he said he’s just thankful he fell off the trading block and onto a winning roster.
“There’s a lot of places you could go,” Siemian said Monday during a conference call with Twin Cities reporters. “For me to be here in an organization who’s knocking on the door of some really great things, I think there’s a lot of people that would kill to be in this spot.”
The Vikings sent a 2019 fifth-round pick to Denver for Siemian, who arrives with 24 NFL starts under his belt. Siemian had an inkling he would be on his way out while the Broncos turned over the quarterback room, signing former Vikings starter Case Keenum last week. While Keenum was introduced in Denver, Siemian was vacationing in Mexico when he got the phone call.
“It was my fiancée’s spring break, [she’s] in law school now,” Siemian said. “As you could imagine I was pretty excited. It’s an interesting way to find out, I know.”
The Broncos went 13-11 with Siemian under center. The former Northwestern quarterback burst onto the stage in 2016 with 3,401 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He wasn’t as successful last season, when he was benched in the middle of the year after throwing three interceptions in a loss at Kansas City.
Siemian returned as the Broncos starter, holding onto the job until he suffered a dislocated shoulder Dec. 14 at Indianapolis. He said the shoulder’s feeling “really good” about 11 weeks removed from surgery.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman compared the acquisition of Siemian to signing Keenum a year ago, when the Vikings added the then-journeyman quarterback on a one-year deal. The Vikings liked Siemian’s intelligence and accuracy and a manageable one-year, $1.9 million contract doesn’t hurt, either.
“To have a quality backup that if, knock on wood, if he had to step in,” Spielman said, “we feel very confident he could come in and play for us and keep us in the right direction.”
Report: Vikings will open season at Philly
The Vikings’ last game of the 2017 season was at Philadelphia, where they will return to kick off the 2018 regular season, according to a report from 94WIP radio in Philadelphia.
There’s little surprise the NFL would want to air the rematch of the NFC Championship Game in a marquee spot — the 2018 opener on Thursday, Sept. 6 — after the Vikings added this offseason’s top free-agency prize in Cousins. The Vikings were shellacked by the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles, losing 38-7 on Jan. 21.
Wright reaches deal with Panthers
Former Vikings receiver Jarius Wright is headed to Carolina, a league source confirmed to the Star Tribune.
The 2012 fourth-round pick left as one of the Vikings’ longest tenured players. Wright appeared in 83 games, including four playoff games in which he caught nine passes for 129 yards. The Vikings saved $2.64 million in cap space by releasing him.
Wright, 28, was a productive slot receiver, catching 66.5 percent of his targets for 2,168 yards and 10 touchdowns during six seasons.