Vikings roster battle: Taylor Heinicke vs Mike Kafka


With only 12 days until the Minnesota Vikings report to training camp, it appears as though there will be a great opportunity for rookie quarterback Taylor Heinicke.  As an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion, the 22-year-old passer has a chance of being the team’s third quarterback.

But, for that to happen he will have to leapfrog Mike Kafka, a former 4th round draft pick back in 2010.  Kafka has jumped around the league since joining the NFL, initially starting with the Eagles before short stays with the Patriots, Jaguars, and Buccaneers before landing with Minnesota this offseason.

As of now, here is how the depth chart looks for Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks according to

  1. Teddy Bridgewater
  2. Shaun Hill
  3. Mike Kafka
  4. Taylor Heinicke

One thing for certain is that Taylor Heinicke will have to work hard in order to earn a role on the team.  Minicamps and OTAs can be a lot for a young player to take in, and a recent intervew on WAVY 10 TV put into perspective just how much it can take a toll on the brain:

"“It’s a little stressful, especially as a rookie,” Heinicke said. “I was starting to get a little overwhelmed, but it’s all about how hard you worked and how dedicated you are.”"

Here is the video of the full segment from the official WAVY TV 10 YouTube account:

The Minnesota Vikings have a history of carrying three quarterbacks on their 53 man roster.  If that does happen and Heinicke fails to win the starting job, there is a possibility that he could find himself on the team’s practice squad if the can impress the team enough.  However, if the Vikings decide to go with only two quarterbacks on the main roster, either Heinicke or Kafka will likely find themselves on the outside looking in.

May 27, 2015; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Mike Kafka (4) throws during drills at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Mike Kafka will have to prove that he can do enough to stick with a team.  His inability to stick with other teams should put a question mark on him going into the preseason.  But, he does have enough NFL experience that is makes him the current favorite going into the preseason.

Kafka has played in 7 NFL games with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, where he attempted 16 passes, completing 11 of those.  He has accumulated 107 yards through the air with two interceptions and zero touchdowns.

The battle between Tayor Heinicke and Mike Kafka should be a fun one to watch coming into the preseason.  With neither man having a decided edge, this could very well be an open competition with only one player securing a job with the Minnesota Vikings.

May the best man win.

Next: Minnesota Vikings 2015 Game By Game Previews

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