One year later, and have things every changed. NFL teams look for consistency and stability out of the QB position, but as Mike Zimmer enters Year 2 of his program in Minnesota he will actually return just one of his QBs from last season. The good news is that lone returner appears to be the answer for which the organization has been searching. Teddy Bridgewater enters 2015 as the guy, a quality veteran was signed to back up the young starter, and a competition is brewing for the third spot.
View the top 20 images of Teddy Bridgewater from the 2014 season.
Here's where the Vikings stand at QB heading into training camp…
Total going to camp: 4
Total on 2014 opening day roster: 3
Average age: 26.5
Most experienced: Shaun Hill – 35 years old with 14 seasons
Rookies: 1 (Taylor Heinicke)
Position Coach: Scott Turner
Although at this time last year he was third on the depth chart, Teddy Bridgewater wound up starting 12 games for the Vikings in 2014. He authored a 6-6 record, had the third-highest completion percentage (64.4%) by a rookie in League history* *and did nothing but generate optimism about what the future holds for him and for the Vikings goal of finding a long-term answer at the most important position in the sport. Slip ups last season could be explained away with excuses such as a lack of experience and not having the services of Adrian Peterson. But now Peterson is back, Bridgewater is no longer a rookie, Kyle Rudolph is healthy and Mike Wallace was added to the mix. Yes, it's Teddy Time, and times appear to be on the rise.
Hill's Helping Hand
One of the Vikings most intentional offseason additions is one they actually hope won't see the field. Shaun Hill was signed as a free agent to provide a solid veteran presence for what is an otherwise very young QB room and to also provide a reliable stop-gap option with a proven ability to win games should Bridgewater need to miss some time. Hill was a quality signing by the Vikings because of his experience as a backup in the League, because of his knowledge of Norv Turner's offense having played under Turner previously in the NFL and because of the stage of career Hill is in. He's a perfect fit to be a mentoring type player for Bridgewater while also still having the ability to play (and help generate wins) if he's needed.
Competition for No. 3
Mike Kafka was also signed as a free agent this offseason and he will compete with Taylor Heinicke, who was signed as an undrafted free agent, for the No. 3 spot. There was no indication from any decision makers as to whether one of these two impressed more than the other during the offseason program, so we'll have to wait to see how their limited training camp reps will be parsed out. This is where a fifth preseason game will certainly benefit the Vikings because it will allow the coaching staff to get more looks at both Heinicke and Kafka as they decide whether or not to keep a third QB on the roster.