The Minnesota Vikings do not know who their 2018 starting quarterback is right now, but placing the franchise tag on Teddy Bridgewater could be the solution.
The Minnesota Vikings have got themselves a quarterback conundrum.
Case Keenum played his way into a large contract this offseason and most are wondering if his performance this year will end up as an outlier in his career.
Sam Bradford is a constant injury concern and the reason he was brought to Minnesota via trade (Pat Shurmur) is now the head coach of the New York Giants.
The Vikings need to know what they have in Teddy Bridgewater before the team can commit to him long term and the only way to do that is to let him play.
The Vikings should franchise tag Teddy Bridgewater.
Make him the unquestioned starter going in to the season and let him work without looking over his shoulder. Bring in a veteran to back him up (preferably one familiar with the new offensive coordinator) and if the wheels fall off and Bridgewater isn’t the guy, the team is in the same position next season with a better draft pick.
If he plays well and looks like a franchise guy, Minnesota can sign him to a long term deal.
The Vikings can afford it. According to overthecap.com, Minnesota has $57 million in cap space going into 2018 and the 2017 franchise tag for a quarterback was $21 million. The Vikings should have enough wiggle room to franchise tag Bridgewater and also bring in other players to fill out the roster as they shouldn’t be looking for many, if any, high priced free-agents this offseason.
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By placing the franchise tag on Bridgewater, Minnesota would also have some flexibility in this years draft. If the Vikings aren’t in love with any of the quarterbacks available at the end of the first round or later, the team can wait until year two of the new offensive coordinator and let him choose someone from the 2019 class.
If Bridgewater plays himself into a long-term extension, that pick is being made with a lot less pressure involved.
This team has most of its core signed for the next few years and should return a very good defense in 2018. The quarterback will not need to average 350 yards and three touchdowns a game for this team to win football games.
It is the perfect opportunity for the Vikings to give Bridgewater a tryout year.