Thanks to an injury to Cam Newton, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke will get the start for the Carolina Panthers in Week 16.
Less than three years ago, the quarterback room for the Minnesota Vikings consisted of Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, and Taylor Heinicke. Fast forward to now and none of these three passers are currently on the Vikings’ roster.
Bridgewater is now a backup with the New Orleans Saints, Hill hasn’t played in over two years, and Heinicke has spent this season as the No. 2 option for the Carolina Panthers behind Cam Newton.
Since entering the NFL in 2015 with Minnesota, Heinicke has never started in a regular season game. Well, that will change on Sunday when the former Vikings quarterback makes his first ever start for the Panthers in their Week 16 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
With Newton currently dealing with a shoulder injury and Carolina pretty much out of the NFC playoff picture after their loss last week, the team has opted to shut their starting quarterback down for the rest of the season.
Heinicke now has a great opportunity during the Panthers’ final two games of 2018. Scheduled to be an unrestricted free-agent in 2019, the young quarterback has a chance to showcase his skills over the next two weeks for potential suitors around the league.
During his time with Minnesota, Heinicke didn’t take a single regular season snap. There were some who believed he could have potentially been the Vikings’ backup in 2016, but then he showed up to training camp with a cast on his leg after cutting his foot on a door.
Now in 2018, Heinicke will finally get his chance to prove whether he belongs as a quarterback in the NFL or not.