The Vikings received bad news today when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a non-contact left knee injury. The extent of Bridgewater’s injury is unknown. … But with teammates reacting so strongly it wouldn’t surprise us if it was season-ending.
Teddy Bridgewater went down at Vikings practice, grabbing his left knee in pain. Players were visibly upset, throwing their helmets in anger
— KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) August 30, 2016
More than just an ambulance, picture showed paramedic from Hennepin County Medical Center which is trauma center. https://t.co/68pcY4ke31
— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) August 30, 2016
Bridgewater got a pretty bad rap in fantasy circles this offseason, and understandably so. There was no upside to his fantasy game last year and he was at best a fantasy QB2.
@ScottBarrettDFB Bridgewater has finished as a top-12 passer in ~22% of his career games. Even with low volume/slow offense, that's horribad
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) August 28, 2016
There were some signs of optimism though and our own Jeff Dumont laid out a compelling case as to why Teddy Two Gloves was a draft day value this year. Alas, it’s looking like we might not get a chance to see how his 2016 season would have unfolded.
Life Without Teddy Bridgewater
Taking a look at the Vikings’ QB depth chart in light of Bridgewater’s injury is underwhelming, to say the least…
Taylor Heinicke was the team’s original QB3, and someone I profiled as a name to watch in 2QB leagues earlier this offseason, but a freak off-the-field accident put him in a walking boot. He has recently ditched the boot though, but if not fully recovered, he could start the season on the injured reserved list or the practice squad.
That leaves us with Shaun Hill and Joel Stave. By this point in his career we know who Hill is. I profiled Hill for XN Sports in 2014 and not much has changed since. 4for4.com said it best in their email blast today calling Hill a “capable backup”. The last time Hill saw significant snaps was in 2014, when he started the final seven games of the Rams’ season. His stat line in those seven games:
63.4 completion percentage (137-of-216), 1,576 passing yards, 8:6 passing touchdown to interception ratio, 6.79 AY/A, and he averaged 12.6 fantasy points/game. In the right matchup, Hill could be considered a QB2 streamer, but without any upside for a monster game.
What About Joel Stave?
So, what do we know about Joel Stave? He’s an undrafted free agent who started 41 games for Wisconsin, completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 7,635 passing yards and 48 touchdowns. He had an AY/A of 6.7.
The start of his collegiate career was more promising than the end of it though, as he threw 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his second year. He combined for 20 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in his final two seasons. His preseason numbers haven’t been all that great either, completing 19-of-33 passes (57.6 completion percentage) for 209 yards and one interception.
A scouting profile of Stave from SB Nation’s Bucky’s 5th Quarter blog hit on some positive buzz terms: big, strong arm, pro-style offense experience, high football IQ.
Stave did go undrafted though, so it’s not all positive. A few of his scouting report negatives: inaccurate, issues with decision-making, doesn’t move well in the pocket. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com painted a gloomy picture, warning us, “very few quarterbacks have been able to overcome his [Stave] weaknesses and become reliable NFL quarterbacks.”
A strong-armed, 6’5′ QB with pro-style offense experience isn’t something to ignore though, which makes Stave an intriguing player to monitor in 2QB leagues if Bridgewater’s injury is serious. But not much more than that.
What do With Stave in 2QB Leagues?
Minnesota is built to be a run-first offense, meaning a veteran like Shaun Hill will be the preferred option under center as Bridgewater’s replacement. That makes Stave more of a 2QB dynasty stash. The team might also bring in a more experienced player to either backup or replace Hill (Josh McCown is a name to watch), keeping Stave at QB3 on the depth chart.
Vikings' backup QB Shaun Hill never had started more than 10 games in any season and he never has reached the postseason.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2016
For the time being, until we have more information on Bridgewater’s injury, Stave is the backup QB in Minnesota and is a Shaun Hill injury or benching away from being the team’s starting quarterback. He does have some traits that would make me take a flier on him if for whatever he reason he sees significant playing time, but that might not ever happen.