Minnesota Vikings backup quarterback situation is terrifyingly concerning

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Jake Browning
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Jake Browning /

Two weeks into the preseason, the Minnesota Vikings do not have a backup quarterback who can run their offense. 

The preseason is a time for overreactions from fans of the Minnesota Vikings and a chance for the team to see what they have behind their starters.

Despite how excited we as Vikings fans get, nothing that happens in the preseason counts towards the team’s stats or even indicates how well they will do in the regular season (the Detroit Lions went 4-0 in the 2008 preseason before finishing 0-16 in the regular season).

With that being said, the preseason does provide a solid indication of a team’s depth behind its starters, and this preseason has done a solid job of indicating a major fact about the Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings need to find a backup quarterback

This year, Minnesota has yet to score an offensive touchdown in eight quarters of preseason football. Their biggest highlight so far came from linebacker Troy Dye’s pick-six off of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger last Saturday.

An offensive snooze-fest that saw both teams combine for five field goals resulted in a 12-10 loss for the Vikings. That’s right, Minnesota’s defense did not allow a single touchdown. The Vikings scored the game’s only touchdown and lost.

Minnesota’s preseason offensive struggles are not due to a lack of playmakers, as the team rushed for 156 yards against the Denver Broncos in Week 1, and they have seen the emergence of players like wide receiver K.J. Osborn in training camp.

The quarterback play for the Vikings in the preseason has left much to be desired. 2021 third-round draft pick Kellen Mond has shown some physical ability, but it is obvious that the rookie is not quite ready to jump in and run Minnesota’s offense should anything happen to Kirk Cousins.

That is also not a bad thing. The Vikings did not draft Mond to compete for the starting job this year, but more as a long-term project meant to possibly step in when Cousins’ contract expires at the end of the 2022 season.

Treat Mond like beef in a slow-cooker — don’t rush his process, but enjoy the finished, tender results.

As for Jake Browning, the Vikings may want to look for a more established veteran quarterback (not named Sean Mannion) to hold down the fort behind Cousins this year.

In two preseason games, Browning is 11-for-25 passing for 113 yards and an interception. It is not so much that Minnesota needs someone to push and compete with Cousins, they just need someone who can simply run the offense and get the ball into the end zone if Cousins can’t play.

This preseason, the Vikings offense has scored nine points, with the team’s lone touchdown during the last two weeks being scored by the defense. That puts them dead last in the league. Pair that with the 45-points the defense has given up (although the unit looked good against the Colts), and Minnesota sits at 28th in preseason net points this summer.

Fortunately for the Vikings, the teams with worse net points than them are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Philadelphia Eagles, with the Green Bay Packers being just ahead of Minnesota in net points.

That means a playoff team, a team that has gone to the NFC Championship the past two years, and the defending Super Bowl champions are in the same boat as Minnesota this preseason.

The Vikings’ poor start to the preseason is not a negative for the team because it allows them to evaluate what they have and identify what they don’t have. This is also not to say that the offensive struggles all fall on Browning. But he has not been great or shown that he can simply move the football forward.

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If anything happens to No. 8 this year, Minnesota may be ultimately screwed. With a few weeks left before the regular season kicks off, there is still time for a backup quarterback to emerge for the Vikings. However, Minnesota may want to keep their options open.

(All statistics from nfl.com unless otherwise noted)