In a strategic move aligning with their Week 13 bye, the Minnesota Vikings have released veteran quarterback Sean Mannion, as reported on the NFL transaction wire on Tuesday, November 28. This decision comes at a time when the team is poised to welcome back three healthy quarterbacks.
Mannion's journey with the Vikings has been eventful. Initially signed to the practice squad after Nick Mullens was placed on injured reserve on October 11, he was later promoted to the active roster on November 11 to serve as a backup to Josh Dobbs.
This elevation was necessitated due to rookie Jaren Hall's concussion protocol and Mullens' ongoing recovery. Mannion, who was Kirk Cousins’ primary backup from 2019 to 2021 and made two starts during this tenure, lost his position to Mullens following the latter's acquisition from the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2022 preseason.
Notably, Mannion hasn't played in a regular-season game since a Week 17 matchup against the Green Bay Packers in 2021.
Vikings' Quarterback Quandary
The Vikings' quarterback situation has been under scrutiny, especially with Cousins sidelined due to a season-ending Achilles injury since October 29.
Dobbs, Mullens, and Hall will now lead the team's quarterback efforts for the remainder of the regular season. However, concerns loom large as Dobbs' recent performance has been underwhelming, marked by four interceptions in a 12-10 loss to the Chicago Bears on November 28.
This defeat follows another loss, marking the first back-to-back losses for the Vikings since Week 3 and leaving the team with a precarious 6-6 record and a 58% chance of playoff qualification, according to ESPN projections.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell openly contemplated changes in the quarterback lineup post the Bears game loss, expressing consideration for benching Dobbs and possibly fielding Mullens. O'Connell praised Dobbs for his tenacity, especially during a late fourth-quarter touchdown drive, but acknowledged the need for a strategic reassessment during the bye week.
In a positive development for the Vikings, wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been activated off the injured reserve on November 28, bringing a much-needed boost to the team's offense. Jefferson's return comes after a seven-week hiatus due to a hamstring injury.
To accommodate Jefferson's return, wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who played in nine games without being targeted, was released from the roster. This reshuffling underscores the Vikings' commitment to optimizing their lineup as they navigate the challenges of the remaining season.