Some guy named Kendall Hinton was at the epicenter of the most unforgettable moment of this NFL season over the weekend.
A practice squad receiver for the Denver Broncos, Hinton made his NFL debut at quarterback Sunday, Nov. 29. That came as a result of every quarterback on the active roster and the practice squad, including usual starter Drew Lock, being placed on the COVID reserve list in the days leading up to the game against the New Orleans Saints.
It went about as poorly as expected for Hinton, as he completed 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards and tossed a couple of interceptions while under duress during the 31-3 loss to the Saints.
It raises the question: What would the Minnesota Vikings do in that situation?
Well, according to coach Mike Zimmer, if somehow every quarterback on the roster was unavailable, receiver Adam Thielen would be the emergency quarterback. In the event Thielen couldn’t play, tight end Kyle Rudolph would step in under center.
“Usually we take a day in training camp and kind of work on what we would do if a certain situation arose,” Zimmer explained. “Then we repeat it typically on Saturdays before the game.”
Some NFL teams have opted to employ a quarantine quarterback this season.
Josh McCown initially signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a practice squad player and took part in team meetings from his home in East Texas. He signed with the active roster of the Houston Texans about a month ago.
Jake Fromm is never involved in a regular practice for the Buffalo Bills, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, instead working out for about 30 minutes after practice with a couple of select practice squad players.
It doesn’t sound like the Vikings have any interest in doing something like that with practice squad players like quarterbacks Jake Browning and Nate Stanley.
“Honestly, if a guy isn’t practicing, he’s probably not going to play very good anyway,” Zimmer said. “We’ll keep being really careful with our protocols and being smart with the masks and all of that. You know, what happened to (the Broncos), from what I understand, was close contact, and we’ve been really diligent about that with guys wearing masks and those types of things.”
Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks is finally getting some attention on a national stage. If you ask safety Harrison Smith, that type of recognition is long overdue
“He’s played really, really well for a few season now,” Smith said. “It’s not shocking or anything. He’s playing well. That’s just what he does.”
In addition to being a tackling machine — Kendricks has a team-high 107 combined tackles so far this season — he has developed into quite the ball hawk. In fact, Kendricks is tied with Smith and fellow linebacker Eric Wilson for the team lead in interceptions (3) after nabbing another Sunday against Carolina.
“There’s some guys that I definitely look around and wonder why they don’t get more recognition,” Smith said. “It’s not surprising that happens. It’s just a lot of things go off what people say. It’s not actually film-related or production-related. He’s always produced.”
While there shouldn’t be much concern about running back Dalvin Cook since he did return to Sunday’s game after suffering a third-quarter ankle injury, it will be interesting to see how the Vikings handle his workload this week in practice.
“I don’t know yet,” Zimmer said. “I got a report this morning. He said he feels good. We’ll just see where he’s at. I’m sitting in Inver Grove Heights (right now), so it’s a little hard for me to tell on some of these things.”