EAGAN, Minn. - To call the Vikings quarterback system murky as free agency approaches might be understating things a bit, considering that two signal callers on the roster last year may be headed for greener pastures.
On Monday a flurry of reports from NFL insiders indicated that the Purple will not use its franchise tag on season savior Case Keenum, meaning he will likely test the waters of free agency. Now comes a post from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport saying that Teddy Bridgewater may follow the same path.
With Bridgewater, one of the most pressing issues is the status of his contract due to a catastrophic knee injury that left him unable to play for the better part of two seasons. Heading into 2017-18 the Vikings decided they would not exercise their fifth year option on Bridgewater's contract, but kept paying him while Teddy was on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. That might signal that the final year of his existing contract will be "tolled," or applied to the 2018-19 season, which would mean Bridgewater is still under contract with Minnesota.
But Rapoport cites sources that insist the Vikings will not toll Teddy's contract, a decision that would leave him a free agent able to negotiate with any team in the league. Whether there would be a long list of clubs willing to take the chance Bridgewater's rebuilt knee is truly 100 percent remains to be seen.
Speculation is that the Vikings will be the latest, and most financially serious suitor for former Washington QB Kirk Cousins, as many feel Minnesota has the roster to compete for a Super Bowl right away. Denver and the New York Jets are considered the clubs most prominent in the Cousins derby.