Coming off losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots respectively, the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars now look forward to the off-season, after each team enjoyed tremendous campaigns. Both teams are obviously incredibly talented and look to have bright futures, but both the Vikings and Jaguars have major questions at the game’s most important position that must be answered if they hope to remain contenders moving forward.
The Vikings must decide this off-season who among their three quarterbacks is the best option moving forward.
Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Bradford are all set to hit free agency and each has a legitimate case to return as Minnesota’s starter moving forward. Keenum, who is coming off the best season of his career, lacks top-shelf arm talent, but he makes up for it with tremendous resilience. Indeed, he has clearly earned the respect of his teammates with his stellar leadership this season.
Bridgewater, the former first-round selection, looked like an up-and-coming stud at the position before a gruesome knee injury forced him to miss roughly a season and a half. Although that particular injury was a freak incident, Bridgewater is small by typical NFL standards, making him more injury-prone than you would like from a franchise player.
Finally, Bradford, who entered this season as the Vikings’ starter, can’t be overlooked as an option.
Before missing most of the 2017-18 season, Bradford solidified himself as a starting NFL quarterback in 2016-17, setting an NFL record for completion percentage in the process. Like Bridgewater, Bradford has been injury-prone during his time in the NFL and though his last season as a starter was superb, he was relatively nondescript in stops with the Los Angeles (then St. Louis) Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.
The safest play for the Vikings would be to bring back Keenum on a one-year “prove-it” deal, while retaining Bridgewater due to his status as a former first rounder and obvious talent. By bringing back both Keenum and Bridgewater, the team would be able to have the two quarterbacks battle it out in training camp, knowing that either way, they will have a solid option at the position.
As for the Jaguars, the team’s front office needs to decide if Blake Bortles is really the right option moving forward.
Though he receives a bit more hate than he deserves, Bortles remains a guy that is too turnover-prone and inconsistent. That said, Bortles played well in each of his last two playoff games, including a solid effort in a tough New England environment in the AFC Championship game.
If the Jaguars do decide to keep Bortles around as the starter for next season, it’s going to cost roughly $19 million. Based on his production to this point, is he worth that type of money? With a guy like Kirk Cousins set to hit the market this off-season, it’s going to be interesting to see if Jacksonville remains committed to the former No. 3 overall pick Bortles.
Obviously, both Minnesota and Jacksonville have some major questions looming as it pertains to the quarterback position moving forward. In a league where good QB play is hard to find, the decisions these two teams make could make-or-break them moving forward.
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