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Even if Keenum wins No. 2 job, Vikings may keep Heinicke

Jun 15, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke (6) throws a pass during mini camp. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming Teddy Bridgewater isn’t ready to start the season as the Minnesota Vikings’ backup quarterback, it appears their depth chart will include Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and “developmental” quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Asked on Monday if the Vikings planned on keeping a third QB, head coach Mike Zimmer said:

“We’d like to,” Zimmer said. “I think you look around the league, when quarterbacks go down, then you start scrambling, finding guys on the street and things like that.”

Heinicke, who has been with the Vikings for the past two years, may be trailing Keenum in the competition for the backup job, but he had a bounce-back game against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night, going  6-for-9, 84 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The INT came on a good pass that receiver Isaac Fruechte let bounce off his hands. His touchdown came on a 21-yard throw to tight end Bucky Hodges.

While the former Old Dominion quarterback isn’t tall at just 6-foot-1, he is a terrific athlete. At his pro day in April 2015, Heinicke ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60 and 4.63 seconds. He also had an impressive 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot-3 broad jump.

His NFL Draft profile, written by Lance Zierlein, pointed to strong pocket presence and accuracy as Heinicke’s strong points. Zierlein wrote:

“Shows above-average poise. Has a feel for pocket. Climbs the pocket with bouncing, controlled footwork and creates more favorable passing lanes. Accurate passer when given time to throw and uses anticipation and timing to overcome poor arm strength. Flashes patience as a quarterback. Allows routes to develop and knows area he wants to attack. Willing to stand and deliver with impending hit coming. Has touch to float throws over underneath defenders and in front of closing safeties”

The Vikings’ appreciation for his talent was on display last offseason when Heinicke injured himself kicking a glass window and the team kept him on the roster. However, his development was likely stunted by missing camp and preseason reps. This year, Heinicke has played second and third team reps in camp and seen action in both preseason games.

“That’s for the final roster decision but I think it’s extremely important that you’re always developing quarterbacks,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “You just never know how it’s all going to play out. You just want to keep developing the quarterback position throughout the season and especially during training camp, so that if for some reason you need a guy, you have a guy ready to go. Again, the final roster decision is a couple weeks away so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

  • linus

    “The INT came on a good pass that receiver Isaac Fruechte let bounce off his hands.” No, it was not a “good pass.” It was behind him, well off target. Fruechte still could have caught it, but it wouldn’t have been easy.

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  • Gordon Guffey

    People can wish all they want but its not going to do any good ~ Teddy will not come off PUP before game 6 if then ~ The Vikings are not going to lose Teddy by keeping him contract from tolling over to 2018 and giving the Vikings the right to then offer him his 5th year option for 2019 ~ I posted a link here on this site in the last week where the Star Tribune when over the CBA that gives the Vikings the right to use 2019 as his 5th year option by keeping Teddy on the PUP list so feel free to look that post up ~ Shouldn’t be hard to find as it was in one of the QB topics ~

    • linus

      I agree with most of what you’re saying, but I’m not sure how it relates to this article. One point I would make is that if Bridgewater is on track to be fully recovered by early- to mid- season (and there seems to be growing optimism that he will be), that could give the Vikings enough confidence to let Heinicke go and keep just two QBs on the 53-man roster, knowing that they could activate Bridgewater off the PUP list if Bradford goes down for the season.

      • Wilbur One

        I don’t believe that Teddy will ever be “fully recovered”. Also, I don’t think he will be ready to take the hits by mid-season. He needs another year of recovery, and even that may not be enough. It seems like an excessive amount of Teddy Blue Sky blowing about.

      • Gordon Guffey

        But would it be in the Vikings best interest to let Teddy become a FA in 2018 or would it be better to set him for 2017 then have his rights for 2018 ((( at a very good cap number too ))) in case they move on from Bradford for whatever the reason while also losing Teddy’s 5 year option for 2019 ~ ??? I just dont see Spielman letting that happen ~

        Or are we saying the same thing differently ~ ??? LOL ~ I have been known to get things wrong once or twice ~ Smile Face 🙂

        • BT

          I agree with you makes no sense to let Teddy play until comes off pup.
          It may snow now!!!
          I just don’t want you going crazy after the 49er game over Bradford when he should finally score a TD against arguably the worst team in NFL ok?
          Sam still looks like same old Sam
          With his short passing game occasionally throwing deep but needs an hour in the pocket to do so I think when Teddy is ready it will be a matter of time before we go back to him.
          That’s where we agree to disagree Gordy!!!

          • Gordon Guffey

            Go on Teddy ~ We know its really you or someone who wants to be you ~

            Funny thing is Teddy has never had as good of a season as Bradford had last year ~ And that was behind a far less effective OL than Teddy ever had to play behind and without the treat of AP having a 1500 yard season and thats not including the 300 yards a season receiving that AP sometimes averages ~

            So Teddy before you pat yourself on the back as the Vikings all world QB why dont you just come clean ~ We all know your a hater ~ And if your hand picked player isn’t play then everyone else suck ~

            Speaking of sucking why don’t you go find another pair of Teddy’s socks or jocks to suck on ~ Meanwhile I’m going to enjoy being a team fan and not some miss guided 40 year old still living at home with your moms ~

            Oh and by the way I’m not going to be in shock if they dont resign Bradford where as you will most likely jump off a bridge if and when the Vikings move of from Teddy ~ See I will look forward to next years 53 man roster no matter who the QB is ~ Its called being a fan and backing your team ~ Not your player ~ Smile Face 🙂 LOL you make me laugh

          • BT

            Gordy you have it all twisted
            I’m on the anyone but Check Down Bradford bandwagon if we draft a QB high next year I’ll be great with that!
            You say Teddy needed 1500 from AP
            And a top 10 defense to make playoffs in his second season.
            Sam will need more than that for him to make playoffs in his “what” season?? Hmmm… maybe this year on 3-10 he won’t throw a 5yard check down. I bleed purple but our QB strategy is killing me case in point our latest signing!!

          • Gordon Guffey

            Seen the whole point that your not getting BT is not to be on anyone’s band wagon ~ Its a team sport and when you hope for Bradford to have a bad season your pulling for the other 52 players to have a bad season as well ~

            However that doesn’t matter to you and your Teddy Fan Boy Club ~ But please dont go away ~ We need something to read in slow time and your posts do often supply so good laughs ~

  • Rod Morgan

    no team is signing him to the 53..he is a borderline QB3 who didn’t play last season and would not know the offense/playbook…. it would be fairly easy to stash him on the PS. If we are down to our #3 QB we are done anyway… why waste a roster spot for a young player with potential for a #3 QB you can keep on the PS anyway?

    • badzeitgeist

      Is he still eligible?

  • MC

    I’m finding that the second year in an extremely technical proffesion is extremely important to development, it shows in heneike as he had a nice rookie camp, looked like a good backup and then missed that second season, now looking like that rookie form again


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