Former Vikings QB leads Washington to their first win of 2021

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Taylor Heinicke
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Taylor Heinicke /

Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke played a big role in the Washington Football Team defeating the New York Giants on Thursday night.

Almost four years to the day after he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, Taylor Heinicke helped the Washington Football Team improve their record to 1-1 this season with a win over the New York Giants on Thursday.

Heinicke finished his night for Washington completing 73.9 percent of his passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

Thursday’s win for Washington was also the first victory the former Vikings quarterback has earned in his NFL career as a starter. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion by Minnesota in 2015, few likely envisioned that something like Thursday night would ever happen for Heinicke.

Washington Football Team defeats NFC East rival thanks in part to former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke

Heinicke went on quite a path before earning his first-career win on Thursday. After the Vikings decided to move on him in 2017, he had stints with the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, and the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks before he wound up in Washington in 2020.

His coming-out party took place last season when he was given the chance to start under center for Washington in a playoff matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Heinicke and Washington came up short against the Bucs, but it resulted in the former Minnesota quarterback earning a new two-year contract from Washington earlier this offseason.

Heinicke entered the 2021 season as Washington’s top backup signal-caller. So when Washington’s starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, went down with a significant injury last week, the former Vikings passer became the next man up.

Heinicke had some moments on Thursday night that reminded people of his lack of NFL starting experience. But then he had throws like the touchdown pass he threw in the fourth quarter to Washington tight end Ricky Seals-Jones that can’t be described with any word other than impressive.

For those who like to entertain themselves with what-if scenarios, imagine how things might have turned out differently if Heinicke ended up winning Minnesota’s No. 2 quarterback job in 2017 instead of Case Keenum.

Do the Vikings still win 13 games that season? Do they still make it all the way to the NFC Championship? If Minnesota performs well, do they re-sign Heinicke to be their starter?

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It’s something that was certainly possible back in 2017. But now, Heinicke is busy just taking advantage of his opportunities with Washington.