Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kyle Sloter never made a 53-man roster in Minnesota despite an impressive preseason resume — and he took to Twitter to share some potential hard feelings he had with head coach Mike Zimmer during his tenure.
ESPN posted on X (formerly Twitter) the question: “What is the greatest rivalry in NFL history?” A Sloter fan account posed the virtually unknown rivalry between Sloter and Zimmer as one of the greatest.
Sloter reposted the fan account with the caption: “Trueeeee.”
Sloter was a preseason hero in 2018 and 2019 for the Vikings. He completed at least 66% of his throws in every game and tallied eight touchdowns and one interception across eight games.
Minnesota opted for veteran backups to Kirk Cousins those seasons. Sloter never dressed for the Vikings in his three years with the team and, according to Pro Football Reference, never appeared in an NFL game during five six seasons in the league. He was last on a roster during the 2022 preseason before the Jacksonville Jaguars released him in August of that year. He currently is with the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions.
Sloter recently addressed the decisions in the quarterback room that may have hindered his development.
Kyle Sloter Reveals Why He Thinks the Vikings Chose Sean Mannion Over Him
In a June 2022 interview with the Pioneer Press, Sloter said he felt he was valued that season, but when Minnesota signed Cousins, the team’s philosophy for its backup changed and Sean Mannion became valued more for his ability to support Cousins — not his actual play.
“I think my first season (with the Vikings in 2017), they were grooming me for something,” Sloter said, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater were on expiring contracts. But when Kirk came (on a three-year, $84 million deal in 2018), who was a big pickup for them, I think that changed things. When you commit that much money to a guy, it was about supporting Kirk.
Undrafted in 2017, Sloter signed with the Denver Broncos. His NFL stock skyrocketed when he completed 31-of-43 passes for 413 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 125.4 — the highest of any rookie quarterback. Denver waived Sloter, allowing him to hit free agency, where he was a prized prospect in the wake of final roster cuts.
The Vikings offered Sloter triple the practice-squad salary minimum, outbidding eight other teams for his services for the 2017 season.
“Sean Mannion was (two) years my senior, and I was just a young guy (in 2019), so that’s a big gap in knowledge,” he said, according to Tomasson. “Although I think my play was superior (to Mannion’s), I think that they saw in Sean the ability to help Kirk in the classroom, and that was valued more.”
Sloter undoubtedly outplayed Mannion in the 2019 preseason. He completed 76% of his passes for four TDs and one interception, compiling a 120.0 passer rating. Mannion completed 66% of his passes for two touchdowns, an interception and a 93.2 passer rating.
Vikings QB Jaren Hall Gets First Taste of NFL in Preseason Debut
Hall’s performance was far from sterling as he was running with the third- and fourth-stringers, but he didn’t force bad decisions with the football. He completed 6-of-14 passing for 37 yards and a passer rating of 50.3. He wasn’t discouraged by the performance and found it as an opportunity to embrace the demands of the position.
“I think you’ve got to actually be in the huddle. You’ve got to call out the play and look guys in the eyes, make sure you answer questions if they have any,” Hall said after the 24-13 loss to the Seahawks, per Vikings.com. “In college, it’s just get your signal on the sideline, say a word, and you’re going fast, so for me at least, it’s just getting comfortable with being in the huddle, commanding the huddle, putting confidence in all your guys that the play you’re calling is the best play you can have. I think that’s where it all starts.”
Head coach Kevin O’Connell saw encouraging signs from Hall, who was steady in the face of pressure.
“But what did flash to me was his athleticism. Conflict resolution. There was plenty of it, and he was able to kind of – at least, sometimes not extend plays for big gains but sack-saving plays,” O’Connell said. “Getting out, spinning out when we missed a couple protection assignments. The big key there is, when you’re in those situations, can you find a way to not make a bad play worse? I speak from direct experience on that. I was proud to see him do that, and we’ll continue to just get the operation a little cleaner with those 3s and 4s in there – and that’s on us as coaches to do. I think we’ll see a progression throughout the next two weeks because those guys are going to get a lot of reps.”