Mike Zimmer admits team’s top three quarterbacks all come with “$64,000 question”

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The Vikings’ top three quarterbacks all are scheduled to become free agents March 14. Minnesota chose not to franchise Case Keenum and now risks losing all three.

“I would like to keep all three of them,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “These kids have busted their rear ends for me however number of years — some of them four; some of them two; some of them one. They know how we do things now. I think that’s important for the culture of this franchise, the culture of this organization. Again, it’s going to come down to financial things, financial for them, and maybe some of them don’t get to free agency. We’ve still got some time. I know there’s a lot of rumors, a lot of different things going on out there. But don’t believe everything you hear unless it’s from me.”

Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater all have questions.

Bradford played only two games last season because of knee injury Zimmer characterized as “degenerative.” Bridgewater spent 14 months rehabbing from a dislocated left knee, missing the 2016 season and playing only nine snaps last season. Keenum was a journeyman quarterback, playing for three teams in his first five seasons, before going 11-3 with the Vikings in 2017.

“It’s really the $64,000 question with all three of these guys, right?” Zimmer said. “Can Sam stay healthy? Is Teddy what he was? Is Case the guy he was last year or was two years ago? That’s really the $64,000 question with us. Now, with Sam, I love Sam. I love all three of them. They’re all great people. Sam was skiing in Jackson Hole last week. He’s a tremendous athlete. I think he’ll stay healthy, but who knows. I have a crystal ball, but I didn’t bring it with him, and it didn’t tell me whether he’s going to stay healthy or not.”

Several reports have linked the Vikings to Kirk Cousins, who will enter free agency looking for a new home.

60 responses to “Mike Zimmer admits team’s top three quarterbacks all come with “$64,000 question”

  1. Does he really need to say top 3? Some teams only go into the season with 2 on the roster. Whatever makes the top 3 feel good I suppose

  2. Bridgewater and Bradford will likely be less attractive free agents because of recent injuries. They may be able to keep one of them as backup for say, about what the Eagles are paying Nick Foles at 7 million per season? Or they can sign someone like Chase Daniels to be a backup for about that much money. Keenum is going to be a tough decision. Is he worth $20 million plus per season and can he repeat his performance of last season? Or are the Vikes better off pursuing Drew Brees or Kirk Cousins.

  3. Kirk Cousins like any mid tier NFL QB needs a good team and good coaching. There are about 5 QBs that can carry a team but even they need help. The kind of cap money being banded about for Cousins is top 5 money and he’s not that good. It’s a huge gamble.

  4. I really wish Sam could stay healthy because there are only a few QB’s with an arm like him,
    I’d say Rodgers, Stafford and Ryan. He has the most beautiful and accurate Deep ball as I have seen. I wouldn’t be afraid of signing both Sam and Teddy, I am just not sold on Keenum. When the opposing defense was prepared for him, he unwrapped. He also cannot effectivly hold it together to play from behind!
    I feel Sam and Teddy could be had for under what Cousins will make. I am absolutely NOT sold on Cousins, I don’t think he is any better than Keenum and he has proven it when he played good teams.
    We ALL KNOW he is only causing this much stir because Washington tagged him twice.

  5. Well, perhaps they need to find out how good Kyle Sloter really is. They certainly went overboard to keep him on the roster, keeping four QBs on the 53 man roster at one point.

    Keenum is the most obvious choice to keep. I can’t see any team taking a chance on making Bridgewater the outright starter without more time from him under center. Bradford will get picked up by someone, but expecting him to remain healthy looks more and more like wishful thinking.

    I don’t get the team’s supposed obsession with Cousins. He’s very good, but they’ll need to break the bank to sign him. Perhaps they think he’s not as reckless with the ball as Keenum, but Keenum had a better year in 2017.

    And by the way, Keenum was 12-3 last year. Yeah, he didn’t start the game in Chicago, but he sure as heck won it by coming off the bench after a lackluster performance from Bradford.

  6. sayormills49 says:
    March 1, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Does he really need to say top 3? Some teams only go into the season with 2 on the roster. Whatever makes the top 3 feel good I suppose
    ___________

    I don’t think Zimmer writes the headlines. I assume the writer does that.

    Anyway, the team has four quarterbacks and “top three” is one way to refer to the three specific quarterbacks to which he was referring.

  7. Well,…you better add a zero to the 64K. Bradford is a toss up on staying healthy and his past history looks bad as an indicator.Teddy ?…we do not have current data to even make a guess. That leaves Kenum, who had a great 2017 year but has had some past years disappointments.If you want to pass on all three ?…perhaps cousins but will he fit in the system as well as Kenum ?…Tough decisions with much riding on the answer. db

  8. kingthielenscourt says:
    March 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I really wish Sam could stay healthy because there are only a few QB’s with an arm like him,
    I’d say Rodgers, Stafford and Ryan. He has the most beautiful and accurate Deep ball as I have seen. I wouldn’t be afraid of signing both Sam and Teddy, I am just not sold on Keenum. When the opposing defense was prepared for him, he unwrapped. He also cannot effectivly hold it together to play from behind!
    I feel Sam and Teddy could be had for under what Cousins will make. I am absolutely NOT sold on Cousins, I don’t think he is any better than Keenum and he has proven it when he played good teams.
    We ALL KNOW he is only causing this much stir because Washington tagged him twice.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’m pretty much the exact opposite of you on this. I’d sign Keenum to be the starter and Teddy to back him up (unless Teddy beats him out in camp). Keenum dd not play well on 3 bad teams but he played plenty well once he got to a decent team. Same guy, same team, should net the same or very similar results. As much as I hate it that Bradford got his legs destroyed on poor teams early in his career, I just couldn’t trust him to stay healthy at this point.

  9. All three quarterbacks have question marks, but so does Cousins. There are no sure things here. I would note that Zimmer made a big deal out of keeping the rest of the team together when deciding which quarterback to go with. It was pretty clear that he doesn’t like the idea of losing any key parts of his defense to sign a quarterback to a huge contract. I’m not saying they won’t go for Cousins, but that certainly suggests they don’t want to go over a certain amount to get him.

  10. This guys talks ways to much with details on his players.

    He should have responded the way Belichick does when asked things like this. “We’ll do what’s best for our football team” without giving away any details about what that will be till he does something that has to be publicly announced, like cutting one of them.

  11. Regarding Bridgewater, Zimmer said his arm was stronger, he’s bigger, and he looked great in practice. However, he said that running the scout team is very different from playing in a real game because there’s no pressure. It doesn’t matter if you throw an interception so you might make great throws that you wouldn’t even attempt in a game.

    Nevertheless, I think it’s telling that his question mark about Teddy was “is Teddy what he was?” rather than being something about his injury status. That tells me that he isn’t that worried about his knee; he’s wondering if he’ll be as good as he was when he starts playing in real games again. We know Zimmer thinks he was pretty good, he’s a winner, and he was ascending before his injury, because he said those things, too.

    Reading the tea leaves, my guess is that Plan A is Cousins AT A CERTAIN PRICE. He’s the safest play until the price gets so high that it starts affecting what else you can do. They’ll find out during the legal tampering period whether Cousins would accept what the Vikings are willing to offer. If not, Plan B will be bringing back Bridgewater. I think they have more confidence in him being better than he was before with all the advantages around him now than they do in Keenum repeating what he did last year. Bradford can’t be trusted as the only starting caliber QB on the roster because of the knee, although they might like to have him back to compete for the job.

  12. Only 64K? I would put it a lot higher. They still don’t have a QB that is in the class of Rodgers, and that is a huge problem for the Vikings. It is still a QB driven league. If you don’t have a premier QB, you probably cannot win a Super Bowl. As the Vikings have clearly demonstrated. They sneaked by a Packers team that didn’t have Rodgers. If that is your strategy for a Super Bowl, they may be another sixty years without a title.

  13. The one thing Cousins doesn’t do is miss games. Zero in 3 years as a starter. The Vikes can’t seem to keep their QB healthy for even 2 straight years. Cousins is top 10 in most major categories over that time. He has even run for 13 TD’s in the past 3 years. His W-L isn’t great, but it’s mainly due to lack of talent around him, this past season they were garbage and yet he still almost beat the Vikes—thanks Case for keeping WA in that game! Cousins worst season is still better than Case’s best! I’ll take that.

  14. Bradford can light up the sky like few others. He’s just out of the realm of starter money now with the knee. The Vikings will make him a highly paid backup for sure but that’s it.

  15. Lifelong Vikings fan here. I am a fairly good judge of athletic talent, imho, and I am concerned about the current list of options for this team at QB. I am convinced that none of the three QBs they had are going to take the team beyond an NFC Title game. Therefore, if I am right, and Zimmer pins the team’s hopes on one (or two) of them, he is likely to be vulnerable to getting fired in the next couple of years. I sure wish they had aggressively tried to acquire Garropolo during the season, as I am convinced he has what it takes to lead a team to the highest level. I believe the Vikings will stay true to their fiscally responsible ways, and open the season with either Bridgewater or Bradford back at QB. They have a #3 in Sloter already. This may work out, but my gut says it will not – injury risk is far too high, and they are both lacking in certain areas. So, the team will fall to 9-7 at best, and their SB window will begin to narrow soon. Ugh. It’s never easy to bleed purple.

  16. I have always been a fan of Spielman’s draft day manipulations. But does a really great GM have all of their quarterbacks become free agents in the same year and have no QB signed for the upcoming season? Maybe this will turn out for the best and this will have been a great move. But I’m not sold yet. It looks bungled up to me.

  17. Bradford is done. When he came back in to play he took one hit and mentally checked himself out of the game. I can’t blame after all of his injuries. I just can’t trust the guy as a starter which would require way too much money.

  18. I’m guessing free agency will start and all three will be looking for a new team.
    I feel like its going to be a Sam Darnold kinda outcome.

  19. Don’t follow either skins or vikings but is cousins (that much) better than Keenum?

  20. Some paralysis by analysis going on there. Keenum was a good QB before last year, it’s primarily just that the opportunity and circumstances were better for him to excel than they had been previously.
    You go to the NFC Championship game with a guy, and the loss isn’t his fault, and you’re dithering about your QB’s?! Stupid.

  21. Bridgewater has so many problems; then the fragile Bradford has far more.

    Right now the best QB is Keenum. Since we afford black QB’s who are one year wonders with HOF cred, we should give Keenum the same.

  22. Here’s the question: One QB got you to 13-3 and the NFC Championship, which is far better than either of the other two have gotten you, despite their merits.

    So what’s the question?

  23. truthbetold109 says:
    March 1, 2018 at 2:58 pm
    Doesn’t really matter who they sign. Good team, not great. Peaked last season. NFCCG is the ceiling. This team is a bridesmaid, not a bride.
    ////////////////////////////

    2017 packer record 7-9. Not even usher numbers.

  24. harrisonhits2 says:
    March 1, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    This guys talks ways to much with details on his players.

    He should have responded the way Belichick does when asked things like this. “We’ll do what’s best for our football team” without giving away any details about what that will be till he does something that has to be publicly announced, like cutting one of them.

    ///////////////////////////////

    You got to love pat fans, they can make every story about the pats

  25. If the Vikes want Bradford, maybe they should just play all their home games in Wyoming. Apparently he can stay upright on skis but not on 1 Billion dollar field turf…lol

  26. $64000 question – will they sign one of the three QB’s from last year that aren’t as good as Stafford or Rodgers, or will they sign a free agent like Kirk Cousins whose not as good as Stafford or Rodgers?

  27. rho1953 says:
    March 1, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    They sneaked by a Packers team that didn’t have Rodgers.

    ///////////////////////////////

    Vikings beat packers in game Rodgers started 23-10. That’s sneaking by?
    Vikings beat packers 16-0 in GB, in packer frigid temps, shutting them out for the packers first shutout loss since 2006.
    Again, “that’s sneaking by”?

  28. Its a question they have to get right. They will have to overpay for whoever they sign whether its Cousins or Keenum. They should use the transition tag on Keenum let him gauge his market and have the option to match. If they decide he will cost them too much money then sign Cousins.

  29. Bradford has been okay, when healthy. Bridgewater is now “damaged goods” due to injury. Regardless of this past season’s success with Keenum, he has nothing on Nick Foles who has held strong over these past few years while under Andy Reid, Chip Kelly and now Pederson.

    Nick Foles is a Super Bowl MVP… like DaBreeze, Mr. Rodgers et al. Wow!

  30. rho1953 says:
    March 1, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Only 64K? I would put it a lot higher. They still don’t have a QB that is in the class of Rodgers, and that is a huge problem for the Vikings. It is still a QB driven league. If you don’t have a premier QB, you probably cannot win a Super Bowl.
    //////////////
    But, their team is simply better than the Packers. Yes, Rodgers has a SB win. 8 years ago. BTW: who are the recent QB’s to win a SB? Foles. Manning on his last leg with a great defense. Brady (again). Wilson. Flacco. Eli Manning. Only Brady surpasses Rodgers on that list. What it takes to win the SB is a complete team.

  31. All of these vikes fans are amazing. Keenum brings that team to the NFCCG and the defense drops a deuce in their duds while getting pantsed by Phi and you all want to kick him to the curb like it’s his fault?

    I really hope you sign Bradford and Teddy and let Case walk and watch him lead another decent team to the playoffs while you’re stuck at 6-10 behind the guy who “throws a beautiful long ball” – yeah, he does – for the 8 minutes of the year you can rely on him.

    Good luck with Bradfo and Teddy KGB, you’re going to need it.

  32. “Here’s the question: One QB got you to 13-3 and the NFC Championship, which is far better than either of the other two have gotten you, despite their merits.

    So what’s the question?”

    The other two didn’t get the opportunity. Sam Bradford played one game, and it was the best QB performance of the season. Teddy has never played with the Shurmer offense and offensive line. It might be an easy choice to a lazy person to go with Case, but people with jobs on the line, who do research and study game film they see the horrific misses by Case on wide open receivers downfield. Like mind-boggling “How does he not see Thielen/Diggs/Morgan/Rudolph(etc) WIDE open downfield for an EASY TD??? That’s the Case too. There’s also the Houston/LA Case that showed up in the playoffs and the end of the Washington game where you see horrific turnovers or suddenly he can’t feel pressure or holds the ball too long.

  33. Im still guessing they want Foles as their starter, and now I’m thinking maybe they want Bradford as their backup.

  34. In Teddy We Trust says:
    March 1, 2018 at 3:20 pm
    “But don’t believe everything you hear unless it’s from me.”
    ______

    This is why we love him.
    ———
    Just like you loved Leslie Frazier. And just like you loved Brad Childress. And just like you loved Mike Tice. And just like you loved Denny Green. And just like you loved Jerry Burns. And just like you loved Les Steckel. And just like you loved Bud Grant. But not one of them returned your love. Not one of them gave you a ring.

  35. Here’s the more important question: What year does Mike Zimmer think it is? Who still uses a Who Wants to be a Millionaire reference that hasn’t been popular since Regis hosted the show?

  36. As long as that crystal ball has a 3 technique DT, a OG/OT type, a backup athletic LB,2 development CBs and budget of $30M for 3 QBs slots. I’d say it’s a good view.

  37. I wonder how much different these comments would be if everyone watched Zimmer’s entire press conference. I got a far different impression than sarcasm. Zim likes all three but behind any team’s decision making is availability and affordability, and Minnesota is no different. They’re not breaking the bank, and of the three (four, including Cousins) only one went 12-3 and stayed healthy doing it. Case is a great player to build around. I’m excited to see what the new OC can do with his skillset.

  38. Their best chance of not getting steamrolled by The New Green Bay Packers is Bradford.

  39. aypeeswhippingstick says:

    March 1, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Cousins is a perfect fit in Minnesota. Half the state is married to one
    ======================================================================

    Anyone have a pen? I have to write this one down so I don’t forget it…

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