The Minnesota Vikings 2018 season likely will not be ruined if their backup quarterback has to fill in for a couple of games.
Since Mike Zimmer became the team’s head coach in 2014, the Minnesota Vikings have had only one season in which the same quarterback started every single game. That was in 2015 when Teddy Bridgewater was the Vikings’ starter under center for all 16 regular season matchups and their one playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
During the other three years under Zimmer, Minnesota has had two or more quarterbacks start in at least one matchup per season. So it’s not hard to understand why the Vikings felt the need to add a capable signal caller to be their backup behind Kirk Cousins for 2018.
Barring an injury or a horrible showing during training camp and the preseason, Trevor Siemian will likely open the 2018 season as Minnesota’s backup quarterback over Kyle Sloter. The Vikings acquired Siemian in a trade with the Denver Broncos last March.
Based on Minnesota’s recent history, the team’s backup has a decent shot at starting in a game or two in 2018. But if Siemian ends up being the guy the Vikings turn to, it should not derail the team’s chances of earning a second-straight appearance in the playoffs.
After playing pretty well in his first season as a starter with the Broncos in 2016, Siemian saw a decline in his performance last year. His difference in play likely had to do with Denver switching offensive schemes in 2017.
In 2016, the Broncos ran a west coast offense and Siemian ended up completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,401 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 14 games that season.
Last year, Denver had a new coaching staff and the team switched to an Erhardt-Perkins offense. This type of offense puts more pressure on the quarterback’s shoulders to correctly identify the best mismatches on the field when deciding who to throw the ball to.
This scheme has worked out great for some signal callers (Tom Brady has had a bit of success with it), but Siemian seemed to struggle with it in 2017. In 11 games with the Broncos last season, he completed 59 percent of his throws for just 2,285 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
Now in Minnesota, Siemian will be back in an offense that was similar to what Denver used in 2016. New Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is expected to run a version of the west coast offense during the upcoming season.
In this offensive scheme, there is a greater emphasis on shorter passes and getting the ball in the hands of the team’s top playmakers as quickly as possible. It’s an offense that should fit Minnesota well with them having weapons like Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Stefon Diggs.
Based on the fact that Siemian was able to be semi-successful running a similar offensive scheme with the Broncos in 2016, he should feel much more comfortable with the Vikings this year.
If Minnesota ends up needing to start the former Denver quarterback for a few games in 2018, the offense should still be able to be productive. Especially if Cooks, Diggs, and Thielen are all still on the field too.
Obviously, the Vikings hope that Cousins can be their starting signal caller for the entire upcoming season. But those who root for Minnesota should just know that the team’s shot at a championship in 2018 won’t disappear if Siemian has to start under center for a game or two.