Backup quarterback needs to be a top priority for Vikings in 2020

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Sean Mannion and Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Sean Mannion and Kirk Cousins /

Among the numerous priorities the Minnesota Vikings have for the 2020 offseason, improving their backup quarterback situation needs to be among the top.

With their playoff position already locked in place, the Minnesota Vikings decided to give some of their backups some extra playing time during their regular season finale in 2019.

This decision meant that Vikings backup quarterback Sean Mannion would be making just his second career start under center since he entered the NFL in 2015. For Mannion, it was an opportunity to prove to Minnesota and other teams that around the league that he could be a serviceable backup signal-caller.

Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, for the Vikings quarterback, his afternoon didn’t turn out as he had probably envisioned.

In Minnesota’s season-ending loss to the Chicago Bears, Mannion completed just 57 percent of his passes for 126 yards and two interceptions. Not exactly the kind of numbers that should be put up by someone the Vikings supposedly considered as their second-best option at quarterback behind Cousins.

Thankfully, Mannion never had to fill in as a starter for Minnesota in 2019. Otherwise, making it into the playoffs probably wouldn’t have happened for the Vikings last season.

Mannion is a free agent this year and it wouldn’t be shocking if Minnesota brought him back since he likely won’t be very expensive to re-sign. But this isn’t a path the Vikings should be taking when it comes to their backup quarterback this offseason.

Minnesota cannot just rely on Cousins’ history of avoiding serious injuries in his NFL career. Football is an unpredictable sport and any player can suffer a major injury at any time during a game, regardless of how healthy they were able to stay during the previous years of their pro career.

Upgrading the talent level at quarterback behind Cousins has to be a top priority for the Vikings this offseason. Whether it be a veteran passer from free agency or a young signal-caller from this year’s NFL Draft, Minnesota needs to look for another option outside of Mannion.

If the Vikings decide to bring back Mannion as their backup for 2020, all it would take is Cousins missing a handful of games due to injury for their season to go up in flames. This cannot happen as Minnesota has invested too much into their roster during the last few years for them to just waste a season because they didn’t select a capable backup quarterback.

Just look at the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. If not for the Eagles having a talented backup signal-caller in Nick Foles, their season probably doesn’t end with a Super Bowl victory.

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There are plenty of other examples to prove that the Vikings need to improve their backup quarterback situation this offseason. Will Minnesota actually do this or will they be too afraid to possibly ruffle Cousins’ feathers with some actual talent behind him on the depth chart?