The Minnesota Vikings are working through a quarterback quandary this offseason, with three pending free agents.
They have ample space under the salary cap, around $50 million, and an unfulfilled desire to produce a long-term answer at the position after years of questions.
Coach Mike Zimmer expressed caution about the strategy of spending their way out of the uncertainty.
“I think it’s really, really important that we understand that we’ve won 40 games in the last four years and we’ve done this by being pretty good on defense for the most part,” Zimmer said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “This year the offense was much better. Part of the reason we’ve been winning games is because we’ve been staying in games on defense, we’ve been a smart team, all those things.”
About half of the quarterbacks in the league are making an annual average of $20 million, and the standard prices will only increase this month with Kirk Cousins leading the list of soon-to-be free agents.
Zimmer pumped the brakes on the notion of trying to win such a bidding contest.
“I want to be really careful about taking away from our strength … because of financial reasons,” Zimmer said.
Staying in step with what GM Rick Spielman said Wednesday, Zimmer told reporters the Vikings are still assessing the pros and cons of Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater with the market set to open on March 14. Zimmer said all three are “definitely” under consideration.
“It’s important for myself and Rick and the organization to pick the right guy that is going to help us continue to move forward,” Zimmer said. “If we don’t do that, then I’ll probably be fired.”
Keenum enjoyed a career-best performance, helping the Vikings reach the NFC championship game.
Bradford’s issue is the knee, which Zimmer described as a “degenerative” problem.
Bridgewater last started a meaningful game more than two years ago.
Kelly’s cancer returns
Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has once again been diagnosed with oral cancer.
Kelly, 58, released a statement Thursday through his publicist saying he is “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news, and vows to once again fight to overcome the disease. He did not go into specifics on the diagnoses except to say the cancer was discovered following a test.
Kelly then closed his statement by saying: “Staying ‘Kelly Tough’ and trusting God will carry us through this difficult time.”
Medical guide launched
The NFL Players Association has created a medical guide for players, a 107-page reference book written by scientific professionals with extensive material on concussion detection, treatment and the league’s game-day protocol for head injuries.
The union’s inaugural “health playbook” was distributed electronically to NFLPA members this week.
Browns GM John Dorsey might make a deal for the top pick in this year’s NFL draft – if the price is the right.
“There are a lot of things we can do at No. 1 and not just get a quarterback,” Dorsey said. “If someone wants to come up and make a trade, I’d make a trade, too. Just give me a call and see what’s up.”
... Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler has been sentenced to a year of probation and 75 hours of community service for a parking lot attack on a man.