Sports

Vikings might be a QB away from finally

Minnesota might be ready for THE run, but first, the business of finding the guy at quarterback

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center on Wednesday. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center on Wednesday. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — So close. So, so, close. The Minnesota Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game last season. Their fans could taste their first Super Bowl since 1977.

And then the Philadelphia Eagles pillaged them, 38-7, and it took zero point zero seconds for Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman to get a quarterback question Wednesday at the NFL combine.

In fact, Spielman knew the question was coming and got ahead of it.

“I’m sure you want me to address the quarterback situation,” Spielman said.

One quiet voice among the media crowd quietly answered, “Yep.”

“We feel very strongly about moving forward, because of all the in-depth knowledge we have of our current three quarterbacks and the practical game knowledge we have of those guys,” Spielman said. “We’re always going to be looking at options in all areas to make sure we’re finding the best fit for the Minnesota Vikings.”

Don’t start whispering Kirk Cousins. Not yet.

Spielman then squashed any of the multitude of reports about the Vikings zeroing in on a QB.

“Just to be clear, no decisions have been made,” he said. “There are a thousand reports out there on how we’re going to move forward. We will continue to evolve this process. I’ll go through the meetings this week with the agents. When we get back, we’ll circle back around and finalize a game plan.”

Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford are moving toward unrestricted free agent status on March 14. Whether any of the three will be back in a Vikings uniform next season has yet to be determined.

Spielman was asked a question that he loved to answer. It was about his son, J.D., a wide receiver with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. J.D. caught 55 passes last season.

The immediate follow-up was quarterbacks. Spielman kind of wanted to keep the topic on his son.

“I thought J.D. got better as the season progressed last year,” Spielman said, totally kidding, of course.

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With Bridgewater, the league has reportedly decided not to “toll” his contract, meaning the time he’s spent rehabbing since a near-catastrophic knee injury likely will be counted as time played, leaving Bridgewater as a free agent on March 14. He spent 2016 and most of 2017 rehabbing his knee.

Keenum helped Minnesota to a 12-4 record in his 16 starts. NFL Network has reported that the Vikings don’t plan to work out an extension and nor do they plan to franchise him. There hasn’t been any solid news on Bradford, who began 2017 as the Vikings starter before being sidelined with a knee injury.

As it stands now, the Vikings won’t have a QB on March 14, unless they sign one before then.

Hi, Kirk Cousins.

Cousins is THE quarterback free agent. The former Washington Redskin finished fourth in the league last year with 4,093 passing yards. He threw for 27 TDs and 13 interceptions. The team that signs Cousins likely will have to make him the highest-paid player in league history.

Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and ... Kirk Cousins.

Hey, the Vikings are an attractive free agent destination. They had the NFL's No. 1 defense in 2017. Wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen combined for 155 receptions last season.

Cousins and the Vikings might be a fit. Rumors around the league certainly point that way. If this happens and it brings the Lombardi Trophy to Minneapolis, no Vikings fan is going to give a half a hamburger about how much it cost.

Close doesn’t seem good enough anymore for this organization. Four Super Bowl losses and no Super Bowl appearances since 1977, it’s way past desperation time. Cousins might be the answer. It’s going to take a lot of money to find out, but no Super Bowls since 1977 will help open the checkbook.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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