Kyle Sloter has earned himself another chance in the NFL.
The former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, coming off an impressive stint in the USFL, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on July 24, per a team report. Sloter completed 168 of 291 passes for 1,798 yards and nine touchdowns for the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers in nine games.
Sloter, 28, will compete for a spot as a backup behind last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, throughout Jaguars training camp, which opened July 24.
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Sloter’s NFL Journey
After going undrafted out of Northern Colorado, Sloter was picked up by the Denver Broncos in 2017. During the preseason, 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.
Despite his success, Sloter didn’t make the 53-man roster. The Broncos had hoped Sloter would go unnoticed on waivers so they could sign him to the practice squad. Instead, the Vikings outbid eight other teams and signed him off waivers.
Sloter dazzled Vikings fans during his tenure in Minnesota, yet the Vikings never gave him a real chance to be Kirk Cousins’ understudy.
At 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, Sloter shone in the 2018 and 2019 preseason and put together a perfect 158.3 passer rating against the Arizona Cardinals in August 2019. After that performance, he led all NFC quarterbacks with a 146.9 passer rating before he entered his first start of the 2019 preseason against the Buffalo Bills.
Sloter completed 16 of 24 passes for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Bills in his final game with the Vikings. He completed a gaudy 76% of his passes for four TDs and one interception in 2019, compiling a 120.0 passer rating and not getting sacked.
The Vikings waived Sloter after the 2019 preseason, opting instead to go with Jake Browning as their third-string quarterback. Sloter’s since had stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders before he spent a week with the Vikings after Cousins landed on the COVID-19 reserve list approaching a Week 17 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.
Sloter has yet to play a single NFL regular-season snap but recently expressed his belief that he’s more capable than many NFL quarterbacks, including Vikings backup Sean Mannion.
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‘I Think My Play Was Superior’
Reflecting on his first stint in Minnesota, Sloter recalled that he felt the decision to have Mannion as Cousins’ backup on the 53-man roster was more about “supporting” Cousins and less about ability.
“I think my first season (with the Vikings in 2017), they were grooming me for something,” Sloter told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press in June. “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.
“Sean Mannion was (two) years my senior, and I was just a young guy (in 2019), so that’s a big gap in knowledge. 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.”
Now, Sloter has another chance to make an NFL roster and come closer to realizing his NFL dreams.
“I think I’m a prototypical quarterback,” Sloter told Tomasson. “I know teams are looking for first-round quarterbacks in the draft, and I’ve been sitting there. I feel like what they’re looking for, they’re describing me. I’m 6-foot-5, 220 pounds with a good arm. I can move, and have a good head on my shoulders. So I feel like I’ve got everything it takes.”