Lots of intriguing QBs out there on the market for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--It's time to see how much veteran quarterback Shaun Hill has left in the tank. The 36-year-old journeyman, re-signed by the Vikings to essentially be a mentor to Teddy Bridgewater, watched helplessly as his role changed in a ...

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Michael Vick at press conference after 24-20 victory against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium last season. Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-It's time to see how much veteran quarterback Shaun Hill has left in the tank.

The 36-year-old journeyman, re-signed by the Vikings to essentially be a mentor to Teddy Bridgewater, watched helplessly as his role changed in a blink Tuesday.

As Bridgewater crumpled to the turf at Winter Park with a season-ending knee injury, Hill found himself thrust into the starting role, whether he likes it or not.

Hill and former University of Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave are the only healthy QBs on the Vikings' roster. The team waived Brad Sorenson on Tuesday, and coach Mike Zimmer hinted the Vikings could bring him back for now. Taylor Heinicke is also on the roster but still recovering from an ankle injury sustained last month.

That means the starting job belongs to Hill - at least for the time being.


Zimmer expressed confidence in Hill during a late-afternoon news conference Tuesday but in the same breath shifted the focus away from the backup-turned-starter.

"This isn't about a one-man deal,"

Zimmer said. "We feel terrible if it's real significant for Teddy, but this is about the team. We have a good team. We have a good defense. Our offensive line is much better. We have good receivers. We have maybe the best running back in the NFL. This is about the team, and it's about us trying to find a way to win football games."

Hill has bounced around the NFL the past 14 years, playing for the Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams. Although he has looked OK this preseason, at this point in his career, he's a backup, not a guy leading a team with championship aspirations.

"We know if Shaun is the guy we're going to try to figure out the very best way to beat the team that we're playing that week," Zimmer said. "And however we have to do it, if it's running the ball 65 times or throwing it 65 times, it doesn't really matter."

It does matter, though, because in today's NFL, having a more-than-competent quarterback is a must. Plus, Hill's arm might fall off before he could throw it 65 times.

Zimmer said he and general manager Rick Spielman have talked about bringing in a veteran quarterback to compete with Hill.

Here are four free agents - all out of football - the Vikings could target in Bridgewater's absence:


- Tarvaris Jackson is a name that should ring a bell for Vikings fans. The Vikings picked him up in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, and even though his career as a starter never really panned out, he managed to carve out a niche as Russell Wilson's backup with Seattle over the past three seasons. He was arrested two months ago for allegedly pulling a gun on his wife.

-Matt Flynn signed a big contract with the Seahawks in 2012 after thriving in a backup role for Green Bay. He was penciled in as the starter in Seattle before Wilson took his job. That worked out pretty well for the Seahawks. Still, Flynn has shown flashes in the past and might be worth bringing in to compete with Hill. He was on New Orleans' roster in 2015 but did not play in a game.

- Josh Freeman started one game for Indianapolis last season. He has been an NFL starter, and if Vikings fans could get over memories of that awful spot start for Minnesota three years ago, he might not be the worst option on the market.

- Michael Vick would at least provide some intrigue. He started three games for Pittsburgh last season, looking uncomfortable in each. That said, a backfield of Vick and Adrian Peterson could be tough to scheme for.

There's also the possibility of acquiring someone via trade before the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against Tennessee. There were a number of quarterback battles in training camps throughout the NFL, and it might be worth the Vikings calling some of those teams.

Mark Sanchez lost the his shot at starting for Denver when the team opted for Trevor Siemian. The Broncos are now actively shopping Sanchez, who has been a starter in the past.

Josh McCown also could be available after Cleveland chose Robert Griffin III as its starter. McCown has produced in the past, just not at the rate to lock down a starting spot.

San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick might be someone who could be had for the right price. He has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way after opting to not stand for the national anthem. There was a point not too long ago, though, when he was considered one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league.

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