But despite the changing of the guard this offseason, it appears to be business as usual with the Vikings.
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Rumor of Re-Signing Sean Mannion
“Source said ‘definitely a chance’ of backup QB Sean Mannion being re-signed by # with Kirk Cousins return assured,” Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson tweeted on March 15. “Mannion is very close to Cousins & helps him greatly in QB room. Mannion wasn’t with O’Connell & Phillips on Rams but spent two years in Sean McVay’s system.”
The last time fans saw Mannion was in a vital Week 17 road matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Cousins was ruled out of the primetime tilt after testing positive for COVID-19, thrusting Mannion into the starting role.
All the lip service Mike Zimmer offered the veteran quarterback, calling him “extremely bright” and a “great competitor,” proved futile.
Mannion mustered just 189 yards and a touchdown, completing 22-of-36 as Minnesota dinked and dunked the ball inside the sticks in a 37-10 loss at Lambeau Field that eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention.
With that loss still fresh on Vikings observers’ minds, many objected to the idea of bringing back Mannion.
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‘Absolutely Nothing’s Changed’
KSTP reporter Chris Long made a fitting Pearl Jam reference to the Vikings regime where the promise of change has borne starkly similar results so far.
On top of the potential for Mannion to return to Minnesota, the Vikings for a third straight year signed a defensive tackle to start free agency in Harrison Phillips. Most of the new regime’s moves so far this offseason resemble strategies Rick Spielman employed over the years to try and bring the Vikings back into Super Bowl contention — calling into question whether the Wilfs’ influence is the strongest voice in the war room.
One fan likened Vikings fandom to being in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Despite the criticism, Mannion is touted as a student of the game and an asset to Cousins, often called a second quarterback coach to Cousins. However, some fans are still unsatisfied with the idea of him being the backup to Cousins.
And once again, the potential for Mannion to usurp 2021 third-round pick Kellen Mond on the depth chart will once again tarnish the decision to draft the Texas A&M product who hasn’t been given a considerable chance to develop.
Despite all the outrage, the key phrase of “definitely a chance” that Mannion is re-signed is ambiguous enough; anyone could considered the job.
Free agency officially opens on Wednesday, March 16, when all the speculation will fall into formation. But so far, the new regime seems to be aligning much of its decisions with the past regime.