Kirk Cousins, along with Minnesota's other starters, didn't play in the Vikings fourth preseason game against the Titans.
Cousins' backups, however, played almost an entire half each in the final exhibition game – Trevor Siemian played the first two quarters, and Kyle Sloter took over after halftime. Peter Pujals played the final five minutes.
ESPN's Courtney Cronin took a look at the structure of Minnesota's QB room and opined that it "mirrors the champs." She wrote:
Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo – all three former backup quarterbacks themselves – value having an experienced, reliable QB waiting in the wings for when things go awry. The way the Philadelphia Eagles formed their quarterback room in 2017 reflected that belief.
The Eagles made sure they had options, down to their No. 3, by scooping up Nate Sudfeld off waivers. In November, Sudfeld was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster in an attempt to play keep-away after the Colts had their eye on signing the young quarterback.
Cronin said that the Vikings hiring DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator in February "brought in someone who believed in that quarterback structure."
The model Minnesota formed this offseason mirrored what Philadelphia created last season: Kirk Cousins/[Carson] Wentz as the clear-cut starter, Trevor Siemian/[Nick] Foles as the experienced backup and Kyle Sloter/Sudfeld filling the role as a developmental prospect with potential.
It's worth noting that the Vikings final decision on quarterbacks won't be confirmed until the roster is cut down to 53 on Saturday, but it's interesting to observe the model they used throughout the spring and summer.
Cronin pointed out that the Vikings have only had a quarterback start all 16 games in a season twice in an entire decade – Brett Favre in 2009 and Christian Ponder in 2012 – but that Cousins showed a durability in Washington that Minnesota "hopes it can rely on."
Vikings have 'strategies to consider' in deciding final roster
By Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT), the Vikings will need to have their roster reduced from 90 players to 53.
Tim Yotter of Viking Update said that Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and company will have "strategies to consider" as they make some likely tough decisions. He wrote:
Is a veteran in his final year worth keeping because of his experience over a rookie that could offer more in the future? How complete of an evaluation can they get with players who have been injured (the Vikings have several of them)? How much do practices weigh compared to game tape? Is it worth keeping a good backup player at a position that is very deep – like the defensive line – over a marginal backup at a position that might not have talent as stocked?
Yotter referenced Zimmer, who spoke to beat reporters earlier this week about the process.
"We sit down and talk about it together," Zimmer said. "Coaches always the 'now,' and the GMs always want the future. We try to get to the same page and then figure it out then."
Yotter said that some of the undrafted rookies signed by the Vikings this spring "certainly will be released," and at that point Minnesota will have to determine which of the group it wants to bring back on practice squad and which could be claimed on waivers by another team.
In addition to considering their own players, however, the Vikings also will be watching other teams' cuts.
Spielman [said] on Thursday's game broadcast the Vikings have "earmarked" more than 600 players on other teams that they could be interested in. Of course, most of those players won't be released, but Spielman never wants to lack information should it be needed.