Minnesota Vikings: Making the Case for Kyle Sloter as the Backup Quarterback


Ever since Trevor Siemian signed a one-year deal with the Jets last week, discussions around the Vikings’ quarterback situation has ramped up. Currently, their quarterback room consists of a 30-year-old veteran quarterback, Kirk Cousins, and a 25-year-old third-tier backup, Kyle Sloter. This has opened the floodgates and people are really rooting for Sloter to be the official backup, and for good reason.

For Vikings fans, this is not the first time the ‘Kyle Sloter for Backup’ conversation has been had. After the 2017 season, three out of the four quarterbacks on Minnesota’s active roster walked away. Sam Bradford went to the Arizona Cardinals on a decent paycheck, Case Keenum got his big shot to start for the Broncos, and Teddy Bridgewater went to the New York Jets. This left the Vikings in an interesting position with their only quarterback being Sloter, an undrafted free agent.

They then went out and dropped a dime on signing Kirk Cousins and brought in Trevor Siemian as backup. Sloter missed out, and fans weren’t happy.


Career History

Sloter got his start with the Denver Broncos after they signed him as an undrafted free agent in May 2017. When push came to shove and the Broncos cut their roster down to 53, Sloter was waived. The Vikings decided to take a chance on him and signed him to their practice squad two days later before activating him to the 53-man roster on Sept. 16. He’s been with the Vikings ever since and the only play he has seen has been in preseason games.

In the four preseason games he played in with the Broncos in 2017, Sloter amassed 31 completions, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a quarterback rating of 125.4. In his four with the Vikings in 2018, he recorded 366 yards on 41 completions, three passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, zero interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 114.1. Yes, it was the preseason, but his performance at the backup position has been high-level.


Case Keenum was a backup in 2017 until injury forced him into the main spotlight, and he did extremely well. Sloter’s 2017 preseason stats were arguably better than Keenum’s, so who’s to say he wouldn’t thrive given the same opportunity?

Here are some reasons why the Vikings should strongly consider Kyle Sloter their backup behind Cousins.

Money, Money, Money

It’s no secret the Vikings are strapped for cash. Their cap availability has been so low that they have been fairly handcuffed in what they’ve been able to accomplish during free agency. What they have accomplished is no short of a miracle, but that’s a whole other story.


They may be looking to sign another backup quarterback, but if they go with Sloter they’ll save a huge chunk of cap space which can be put to better use making final moves post-draft.

Low-Risk, High-Upside

Even if the organization isn’t fully sold on Sloter’s ability under center, it’s not all that much of a risk having him as No. 2 quarterback. Consider Cousins’ 2018 season, when was on the field for every offensive snap. The guy didn’t miss a beat. He’s a fit and extremely competent quarterback and there’s a good chance he does the same thing this year, so is it really that much of a gamble? On the other hand, if Sloter was called upon to start, there’s a decent chance he performs at, or above, expected levels.

The Vikings could consider taking a quarterback in the later draft rounds to develop so they have a third-stringer … and there’s your insurance policy. Alternatively, they could look for a low-cost third-stringer in free agency or poach an AAF quarterback at a bargain.

Talent and Ability

In the limited tape we have on Sloter, he has shown flashes of star-level talent. He’s still a bit raw, but he has an abundance of talent. Take his arm strength, for example. In a 2017 preseason game against the Bears, Sloter threw a 50-yard dime, hitting his open receiver in the end zone. His mechanics on that throw made it look completely effortless. He’s also demonstrated his ability to thread a dart down the middle of the field with NFL-level accuracy.

Another thing Sloter does well is his ability to keep calm under pressure. You can see plays where his pocket has started to collapse and, regardless, he’s progressed through his reads after the first option wasn’t open and completed a pass under pressure.

While this can be a problem in this sport if you don’t couple that with awareness, Sloter seems to perform well in this aspect of the game. He can also extend plays on his feet because he has good downfield vision on the move. You wouldn’t put Sloter in the same “running quarterback” category as guys like Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, but his ability to keep his eyes downfield while scrambling is a skill you want to have in your quarterback.

These abilities play strongly into the Vikings’ offensive style that we’ve seen under Cousins, given the caliber of the receiver corps. If Sloter had to step in mid-season as the signal caller, you can bet there would be some down-field bombs with pinpoint precision.


Kyle Sloter is not perfect and he has some weaknesses that need to be addressed. However, he is a talented and dedicated quarterback that would be a great choice as a backup quarterback for the Vikings, especially under the coaching staff they have. His accuracy coupled with arm strength and situational awareness puts him in a good position to perform and, given the chance, he may just prove me right.


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