Quarterbacks Jake Browning and Nate Stanley were cut on Tuesday. Third-round rookie Kellen Mond, the only quarterback left in the organization other than Cousins, is not ready to become a regular starter anytime soon if Cousins were to miss time.
Those reasons and, potentially more behind the scenes, have led an AFC executive to name drop the Vikings as a possible suitor for none other than (breath…) Cam Newton.
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NFL Exec Names Vikings as Destination for Newton
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Tuesday that an AFC executive singled out the Vikings as a destination for Newton.
“He will find a home as a backup,” an AFC exec told Fowler. “I don’t doubt that at all. I could see Minnesota bringing him in. They need a QB, a No. 2. (Kellen) Mond isn’t ready.”
Why the AFC executive suggested Newton to the Vikings, we’ll never know. Several teams could upgrade their backup quarterback position, and Newton is not necessarily a one-to-one replacement to Cousins in the Vikings’ offensive scheme.
However, Newton has the star power, playoff experience and the mobility to offer a higher ceiling as a backup. And in a year where it seems all the pressure is on the franchise to at least make the postseason, Newton may be a better answer than Mannion.
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‘The Tape Doesn’t Lie’
Fowler found that NFL evaluators had mixed reviews of Newton’s preseason, which led to him being cut by the New England Patriots. Instead of Newton retaining his job, rookie Mac Jones was named the team’s starting quarterback.
Here’s what Fowler gathered:
“The tape doesn’t lie. Cam just wasn’t good,” said an NFL personnel evaluator, citing Newton missing basic throws during preseason-game action. But another evaluator didn’t totally agree, pointing out that Newton threw with good timing and location against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago, and not all of his incompletions last week against the New York Giants were on him.
Newton went 14 of 21 for 162 yards, for one touchdown and one interception in the preseason. Since having shoulder surgery in 2017, Newton hasn’t been the same quarterback that led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl tw0 years prior.
He completed a second-best 65.8% of his passes last season for 2,657 yards in the Patriots’ run-heavy offense. However, he attempted a career-low 1.9 passes per game at least 20 or more yards downfield, per ESPN.
Newton was seemingly relegated to a facilitator role under center. He added 592 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns.
Whether the Vikings could tailor their offense for Newton remains to be seen, but the imagination runs wild dreaming of a Wildcat or quarterback option with the Vikings’ weapons.