May 24, 2024

The Minnesota Vikings recently experienced a glimpse of what their 2023 offseason might entail when they had to hastily find a replacement quarterback due to Kirk Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tear. This situation could prompt them to revisit trade discussions from that period as the trade deadline approaches in the upcoming months.

According to a report by The Athletic’s Dianna Russini on October 31, the Vikings explored the possibility of acquiring Jacoby Brissett, the backup quarterback for the Washington Commanders, before eventually acquiring Josh Dobbs.

Considering Brissett as a potential bridge quarterback in 2024, the Vikings could utilize him while developing a rookie quarterback for the next season. This strategic approach aims to position the team for a strong run in 2025, leveraging significant cap space for free agency.

QB Jacoby Brissett’s Fit With Vikings

Drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots in 2016, Jacoby Brissett was traded to the Indianapolis Colts following an injury to Andrew Luck. In his first season with the Colts, Brissett started 15 games, grappling with challenges due to an ineffective offensive line that struggled to protect Luck. Despite these difficulties, he demonstrated a penchant for ball security and emerged as a reliable game manager.

While Brissett holds an 18-30 career record, his touchdown-to-interception ratio stands at an impressive 2:1, with 51 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in his 48 starts. He has moved through various teams, including stints with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, consistently winning games despite stepping into offenses not tailored to his specific skill set.

Brissett’s career has been marked by his ability to lead teams impacted by injuries to their starting quarterbacks. Although he may not be a transformative force for an offense, he has shown an aptitude for complementing the strengths of those around him. The Minnesota Vikings’ interest in Brissett during the trade deadline could be seen as somewhat driven by desperation, but it also signifies their recognition of Brissett as a potential fit in their plans. This consideration becomes crucial in a season where they anticipated competing without key players like Kirk Cousins or Justin Jefferson for a significant portion of the games.

Despite earning $49 million throughout his career, Brissett’s recent contract with the Washington Commanders was a more modest $8 million for the 2023 season. This economical rate provides the Vikings with greater flexibility to rebuild their roster through free agency.

Bridge QB, 1st-Round Rookie Route Gives Vikings More Resources for Rebuild

Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, and Marcus Davenport, who was the prominent free agency signing last year, are all approaching free agency as outside linebackers. Key players like starting linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard are also set to hit free agency.

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

Safety Harrison Smith faces an uncertain future as he may need to accept a reduced salary to stay with the team. Smith openly discussed contemplating retirement during the previous offseason when confronted with a similar decision. Guard Dalton Risner is in need of a new contract, and there’s a likelihood that wide receiver K.J. Osborn will depart in free agency.

Gaps in both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as coverage issues at cornerback, further compound the team’s concerns. Despite having promising depth players who gained significant playing time in the 2023 season, it was essentially a trial to assess their potential for starting roles.

While it might seem logical to extend Cousins and focus on drafting a first-round pass rusher if the Vikings were close to being Super Bowl contenders, their needs go beyond a couple of free agency additions. Limited cap space, coupled with impending big-money deals, makes it challenging to make impactful additions this offseason.

If Cousins is re-signed, the chances of retaining Hunter could be jeopardized, especially with expectations of extending Jefferson. This would necessitate acquiring at least two new starting pass rushers, an interior lineman with pass-rushing ability, and at least two starting-caliber cornerbacks.

While some of these needs could be addressed through player development, relying on middle-round talent to simultaneously rise to starting levels at multiple positions is risky.

Opting for a more cost-effective approach by signing a veteran like Brissett and drafting a rookie quarterback would provide financial flexibility by 2025. With the fifth-most cap space in that season, the Vikings could be aggressive in free agency after another year of evaluating talent on rookie contracts.

The offense would be well-positioned for the development of a rookie quarterback, while the defense could see significant improvement with another year of player development and potential free-agent additions.

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