Vikings keep just two QBs on active roster
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings opted Saturday to keep just two quarterbacks on the active roster, but there’s plenty of suspense with three other ones.
Starter Sam Bradford and backup Case Keenum are on the 53-man roster. The Vikings kept Teddy Bridgewater on the physically unable to perform list, released Taylor Heinicke with an injury designation and released undrafted rookie Mitch Leidner, formerly of the University of Minnesota.
The Vikings like to have three quarterbacks available for practices. Heinicke, who suffered a mild concussion in Thursday’s preseason finale against Miami and also has been bothered by a strained right oblique muscle, is not in line to be a third this week.
If Heinicke clears waivers today, he would go on the injured list. He eventually could end up on Minnesota’s practice squad or even on the active roster. For that happen, there might need to be an injury settlement, and then Heinicke wouldn’t be eligible to return until three weeks after the end of the settlement date.
In an effort to have a third arm for practice Tuesday, Sept. 5, one option could be signing Leidner to the practice squad.
Leidner said he has no idea about possibly being on the squad when it is set today. It was no surprise, though, that he didn’t make the 53-man roster.
“I understand that it’s a business and we’re grown men playing this game and (being released is) the kind of thing that can happen,” Leidner said. “It was great to get the opportunity and I’m very thankful to the Vikings organization for that.”
In the 30-9 loss to the Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium, Leidner completed 14-of-19 passes for 129 yards and had a solid passer rating of 91.8.
“It was awesome the support I got the fans and all my family and friends and teammates and coaches,” Leidner said. “It was definitely a memory I won’t forget.”
It was expected Bridgewater, who hasn’t played since suffering a torn left ACL and dislocated knee in practice Aug. 30, 2016, would begin the regular season on the PUP list. He can’t practice or play for the first six weeks.
Bridgewater is making $1.354 million in the final year of his contract. Language in the collective bargaining agreement states Bridgewater’s contract could “toll” for next season if he is on the PUP list for the first six weeks, but it’s possible that could be challenged by the NFL Players Association if there is a dispute on whether Bridgewater should be a free agent after the season.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has said Bridgewater could return this season to play. For now, Bridgewater can’t practice at the earliest until after the Oct. 15 game against Green Bay.
When that week starts, the Vikings will have a five-week window to allow Bridgewater to resume practicing. Whenever he might return to practice, there would be a three-week window to decide whether to activate him or have him go on injured reserve for the rest of the season.