Getty Tanner Morgan during a preseason game for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023.
The Minnesota Vikings made a necessary move for Week 10, signing former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Tanner Morgan on Wednesday, November 8th.
Morgan, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, lands on the Vikings’ practice squad, with only Josh Dobbs and Sean Mannion joining him at practice this week.
Rookie quarterback Jaren Hall is in the concussion protocol after a hit he took last week. Nick Mullens (back) is eligible to return from the injured reserve list but does not appear to be ready yet.
Dobbs was named the starter this week as part of the Vikings’ plans to move on without Kirk Cousins following his Achilles tendon injury on Oct. 29. Dobbs was acquired in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals at the league’s October 31 trade deadline.
Kevin O’Connell said if Hall can clear the concussion protocol in a timely manner, he could back up Dobbs. Otherwise, Mannion is a likely candidate to be cut from the practice squad on Sunday.
Minnesota released defensive tackle Sheldon Day to make room for Morgan, who is joining the team for the second time this season. The Vikings signed him to the practice squad on October 5 after Mullens suffered a back injury in Week 5. Minnesota released Morgan the following week on October 10.
Tanner Morgan is becoming a familiar name for Vikings
Morgan is the winningest quarterback in University of Minnesota history, winning 33 of 47 starts in five seasons with the Golden Gophers. Morgan also has the highest career pass efficiency rating (151.0) and completion percentage (62.2) and is second all-time in yards passing (9,454) and touchdown passing (65).
He was selected eighth overall by the Michigan Panthers in the USFL draft, but decided to pursue his opportunities in the NFL this spring. Morgan went undrafted but ended up with the Steelers in training camp. He was released on August 28.
According to the Star Tribune, Morgan has since remained connected to his college campus as a volunteer analyst for his former coach PJ Fleck. Fleck praised Morgan, who Fleck believes has a future as a coach.
O’Connell repeated that message after the Vikings released him after he spent a week helping out at practice before a Week 5 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I want to thank Tanner Morgan for his short time here,” O’Connell said after the Vikings released him in October, according to Vikings.com. “He’s already started his coaching career there at the U (University of Minnesota). I really appreciate Coach Fleck giving him a few days to come and see us and what an impressive kid. He’s definitely got a hell of a future ahead of him.”
Vikings test future at QB with Josh Dobbs
While the Vikings have maintained flexibility in deciding their future at quarterback, Minnesota is getting a taste of the possibilities beyond Cousins.
Dobbs’ agility is a trait that Cousins doesn’t have, and it was obvious what a difference she can make. Dobbs, who played in practice without throwing a single ball, flew off with his legs as the image in front of him became muddy.
On his final game-winning drive, he converted a fourth-and-7 and led the team with 66 yards rushing in Sunday’s 31-28 comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons.
While his processing, accuracy and passing are more important in the long run, Dobbs has the rest of the season to improve the offense.
In the meantime, Minnesota is taking a look at what O’Connell can do with a more mobile quarterback – who could be on the table in next spring’s draft.
Trevor Squire is a sports journalist who covers the Minnesota Vikings for Heavy.com. Trevor studied journalism at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and worked at the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @trevordsquire. More about Trevor Squire
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