Joe Flacco Called Vikings After Kirk Cousins Injury but They Weren’t Interested

NFL: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
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Entering week 17, the Minnesota Vikings playoff hopes are as unrealistic as they have been all season and the reason is obvious. After some early magic, following Kirk Cousins’ achilles tear a couple of months ago, the Vikings have gone through three backup quarterbacks and haven’t been able to find one option competent enough to float a good team into the postseason.

On Sunday night, they’ll turn back to Jaren Hall because… what choice do they have? Josh Dobbs can’t throw the ball and Nick Mullens only throws it to the other team. But maybe, we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking ‘what choices DO the Vikings have’, maybe we should focus more on ‘what options DID they have’?

Remember the Minnesota Vikings mid-season QB search?

It was a crazy 48 hours, after Kirk Cousins’ injury. Insiders were scrambling to get the latest information, lists were slapped together with possible candidates… it was a wild gray duck QB chase. If there was any reason whatsoever why a known QB with a semi-functional throwing arm might be available, Minnesota was supposedly interested.

Related: Justin Jefferson Plans to Push Vikings Toward Re-Signing Kirk Cousins

Trade speculation was running rampant. Would Colt McCoy (Commanders) be a good fit? What about our old friend Case Keenum (Panthers) or Andy Dalton (also Panthers)? Free agent names floating around back then included Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, even Tom Brady.

Oh, and don’t forget about one forgotten name, Joe Flacco, who has since signed with the Cleveland Browns and, at nearly 39-years-old, is playing the best football of his career.

Flacco was inserted as Browns starter at the beginning of December and he is now being praised in Cleveland for single-handedly lifting them into the AFC playoff bracket, after yet another astounding performance on Thursday night guaranteed them their spot.

Cousins’ injury happened on October 29 and the slow-motion video of his achilles tendon snapping made the eventual diagnosis pretty clear right away. The tear was confirmed the next day, after further imaging tests, and the Vikings QB search kicked into high gear.

The “no stone left unturned” QB search…

Back then, head coach Kevin O’Connell promised the Minnesota fanbase that decision makers in Eagan would leave no stone unturned, in their desperate search for a new quarterback. We could feel comfort knowing he and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah were scouring every possible corner of the football world for a competent QB replacement.

They were supposedly open to every possible scenario, when they first started evaluating their options. From a blockbuster trade that would have put their future in jeopardy, to bottom barrell free agents that wouldn’t cost much more than a spot on the practice squad.

So obviously, if a former Super Bowl winner and aging game manager CALLS YOU, you’d be interested in, at the least, bringing him in for a workout, right? What else do you have to lose, especially after you’ve ruled out any sort of blockbuster deal.

I mean, the cost of a plane ticket is certainly worth a workout with KOC. Even if you think Joe Flacco is too old and frail to make the flight; that his arm might fall off after his first throw… YOU STILL BRING HIM IN FOR A WORKOUT, RIGHT? Since you are DESPERATE and deep diving EVERY POSSIBLE OPTION?

Vikings said ‘no thanks’ to working out Joe Flacco

Apparently not, according to Darren Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP), who noted on Twitter Thursday night that Joe Flacco and his agent actually contacted the Vikings, after Cousins injury, to let them know he was interested in filling in at QB for the remainder of 2023. Minnesota said no and didn’t even invite him in for a workout.

Look, hindsight is 20/20. There wasn’t a soul in the football universe, including Joe himself, who saw these last five performances coming. Sometimes, just like what happened with Josh Dobbs for a couple weeks in Minnesota, the right guy lands in the right spot at the right time.

What’s frustrating, though, is their lack of interest in even seeing him. Not only were KOC and Kwesi not turning over every stone, like they promised, but they weren’t even paying attention to the stones hitting them right in the face.

Related: Minnesota Vikings Playoff Odds – Week 17

I mean, Flacco wouldn’t have been the most attractive option, obviously. But neither was Josh Dobbs… which is why the Cardinals gave him up for next to nothing. It’s important to remember how desperate the Minnesota Vikings were back then. So why wouldn’t you at least fly Joe in for a workout?

I mean, you’re telling me that Kevin O’Connell would have watched Flacco run around the practice fields at TCO Performance Center and effortlessly fling it, like we’ve seen him do with the Browns (below), and still decide on Josh Dobbs as the better answer? I don’t know if you can convince me of that.

But without seeing Flacco, that’s what happened. Less than 24 hours after Cousins’ achilles tear was made official, they gave Joe the cold shoulder and it was announced that GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had made a deal with the Arizona Cardinals, swapping some late round draft picks for the quarterback who had started all eight games for them, up to that point.

Would working out Flacco had changed Vikings’ thinking back then?

With Kyler Murray set to return from injury, Dobbs became very expendable in Phoenix and really cheap for the Vikings. Without a doubt, the deal made sense. But still, head coach Kevin O’Connell could not have been all that excited about Dobbs, while watching his tape.

In those eight games with the Cardinals, Josh threw 8 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and 1,569 yards (196.1 YPG). He also ran for 258 yards on the ground and 3 rushing touchdowns. Oh, and don’t forget about his 8 fumbles, four of which he lost.

Does that sound familiar? It should because, as you can see below, Minnesota got the exact same Josh Dobbs as what Arizona had for the first half of the season. Probably a bit worse, which is to be expected when jumping into a brand new offense mid-season. But it’s uncanny how identical Dobbs’ completion %, yards per attempt and yards per completion are at both stops this season.

TmGGSQBrecCmpAttCmp%YdsTDTD%IntInt%Y/AAY/AY/CY/GRateQBR
ARI881-7-020.933.362.8196.11.003.00.631.95.95.79.4196.181.2
MIN542-2-019.030.262.9179.01.003.31.003.35.95.19.4179.076.4
202313123-9-020.232.162.8189.51.003.10.772.45.95.59.4189.579.551.9
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/29/2023

There’s no reason to believe Joe Flacco wouldn’t have impressed the Vikings, just like he has the Browns, had Kwesi and O’Connell given him a shot. But they didn’t.

And if I’m the Wilfs, it’s not acceptable that the general manager and head coach of your QB desperate football team essentially hung up on their best QB option without even bringing him in for a workout.

Because of that, your NFL franchise is on the outside of the playoff bracket looking in. And if Zygi hasn’t already, he should call them up to his lavish office at TCO Performance Center and let them know how unacceptable it is. How not doing their due diligence probably cost your team a playoff spot and your pocketbook that postseason money and fan excitement.

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