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Why the Vikings should have traded for Gardner Minshew

The Vikings have basically left the fate of their season up to a sixth-round pick.

Watching the second quarter of the Minnesota Vikings' preseason finale, you had to know Mike Zimmer was dying inside.

With his job presumably on the line, Zimmer has been stuck with a roster that's been lacking depth. While the offensive line, safeties and linebackers are a concern, his biggest issue has to be the quarterback position.

Kirk Cousins has proven to be a top-10 quarterback during his time in Minnesota but this isn't about his performance on the field. With his normal risk of injury amplified by his unwillingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Cousins has left the Vikings in a precarious situation.

With Jake Browning and Kellen Mond behind Cousins, the Vikings need to improve at backup quarterback and Gardner Minshew would have been a perfect solution.

Minshew is more known for his epic mustache and cult following than his performance on the field but in his two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minshew threw for 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The Jaguars went 1-7 in Minshew's eight career starts but that could have been by design to tank for Trevor Lawrence. For a team like the Vikings, it would have provided a solid insurance plan in case Cousins needed to miss time.

The best part is that it wouldn't have cost the Vikings much to acquire Minshew. With a cap number of $850,000, he would have fit under the Vikings' salary cap woes. At 25 years old, Minshew also has the upside to be a cheap bridge quarterback next season if the Vikings decide to move on from Cousins.

But that's where the Vikings' interest may have stopped. The Philadelphia Eagles swooped in on Saturday morning and acquired Minshew for a conditional sixth-round pick. 

While there hasn't been confirmed interest in Minshew, the Vikings should have pounced if that were the asking price.

The Vikings have built a reputation for finding late-round gems but the reality is that many of them haven't panned out. Looking at their sixth-round picks from 2015, only Oli Udoh has a chance to be a contributor and the others have been distant backups or relegated to the practice squad.

Minshew wasn't the only option for the Vikings with final cuts coming on Tuesday. The Vikings could easily jump into the free-agent market to sign Blake Bortles or just wait for C.J. Beathard to become available but they don't carry the same cost and benefits that Minshew would have.

In a season where jobs could be on the line, Spielman and Zimmer have left theirs to be hinged on a sixth-round pick. If Cousins can't stay on the field, it's an interesting hill to die on.

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