Signing Cam Newton Doesn’t Make Sense for Minnesota Vikings

Cam Newton Vikings

Heading into the start of the 2021 NFL regular season, one area of question remaining on the Minnesota Vikings offense is who will serve as the backup quarterback behind veteran starter Kirk Cousins. Although the Vikings hope this position and the player who serves as the backup won’t come into play at all during the new year, it’s still a good thing to have a backup plan for if Cousins were to miss time due to injury or other reasons.

Following the three-game preseason, Minnesota could be on the search for another player to help fill in the depth chart behind Cousins, with Kellen Mond currently the only other quarterback outside of Cousins left on the roster following the final roster cuts on Tuesday. But there is a new option on the open market that some have speculated to be of interest to the Vikings, that being former Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton.

Signing Cam Newton Doesn’t Make Sense for Minnesota Vikings

On Tuesday, Newton was surprisingly released by the Patriots after a quarterback competition between the veteran quarterback and rookie Mac Jones, with Jones willing that battle to take over under center in New England. Now, the 32-year-old Newton is searching for his next landing spot, and Minnesota could also be looking for a quarterback to help fill in a temporary hole as a backup with Mond not appearing to be fully ready to hold that title just yet.

Although Newton is an intriguing option to bring into Minnesota, it doesn’t make sense for the Vikings to sign him to sit behind Cousins. Let’s look at a few reasons why.

Personality

The first reason why Cam Newton to the Vikings doesn’t make a ton of sense is his personality, something that is sometimes overlooked but could play a large role in the decision of if the Vikings would be interested in the veteran quarterback.

When it comes to Newton’s personality, he is a player that is often outspoken and very open, something that is just about the complete opposite of Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer is more of a person that tries to keep things in-house and out of the headlines, while Newton oftentimes finds himself in headlines with comments made or just his out-spoken personality in general.

Traditionally, we’ve seen Zimmer key in on guys that hang out a little bit more behind-the-scenes of things and out of the spotlight. And to have a backup quarterback creating headlines and kind of shedding perhaps an unwelcome light on the quarterback room and team like Newton might is just one reason why it doesn’t make a ton of sense for Minnesota to bring in Newton.

Performance and Style of Play

It’s not too often you find a former NFL MVP on the free agent market leading up to the start of a new year, but Newton is far from his MVP season in 2015 and the player he was with Carolina at that time. Since that year just six seasons ago, Newton has struggled and taken a step back from what he once was with the Panthers.

The latest example of Newton taking a step back was his 2020 season, the first with New England as the starting quarterback to begin the post-Tom Brady era for the Patriots. In 15 games with New England a year ago, Newton completed just 65.8% of his 368 pass attempts, totaling 2,657 passing yards, a career-worst mark for him when playing a full season. Newton also threw for just eight touchdowns along with 10 interceptions, averaging just 177.1 yards through the air per game. He did show his intriguing running ability with the Patriots, finishing the 2020 campaign with 592 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 137 carries.

Over the last few years, Newton hasn’t been able to show the ability to consistently throw the ball well, which is something that could frustrate the Vikings while featuring the receiving duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in the offense along with Dalvin Cook out of the backfield.

Newton’s dual-threat style of play could be something Minnesota might look to add to the quarterback room if any other year, but it also just draft Mond before the year, a quarterback who carries a lot of the same dual-threat capabilities that Newton possesses. It just doesn’t make sense to sign a veteran to place in front of Mond that is essentially the same type of player, rather than letting Mond develop and potentially fill that role while he continues to develop and get acclimated to the NFL.

Vaccination Concerns

In the year 2021, COVID-19 is still a topic of discussion and is something that has been and will continue to be a topic of conversation around the NFL during the upcoming regular season. Newton has already found himself in COVID conversations and specifically vaccination talks, as he had to sit out during the preseason after a “misunderstanding” regarding league protocols that resulted in him having to miss a few days of team activities and potentially opening up a door for Jones to claim the job in New England.

When it comes to the Vikings, vaccination has been a big topic as well already this season with Cousins at the forefront of those conversations in Minnesota. Earlier in the preseason, we found out that Cousins has elected to not get vaccinated, which could potentially put him and the Vikings in a tough spot as players who haven’t been vaccinated could miss around 5-10 days if they are exposed or test positive for COVID-19. The same thing goes for the rookie Mond, who already tested positive for COVID during the preseason and appears to not have gotten the vaccine himself.

Now, what that means in relation to Newton is that it would be unlikely that Minnesota would bring in another player who appears to not have received the vaccine, since he would also be at risk of missing an extended amount of time if exposed. Potentially having Cousins, Newton, and Mond all in health and safety protocols during the year would be a nightmare situation for the Vikings and bring them back to square one.

Although Newton is an intriguing option at backup and could provide the Vikings with a different look at the position, there are a few different reasons why bringing Newton to Minnesota doesn’t make sense. If the Vikings were to add another quarterback to the roster leading up to or during the 2021 season, it would likely be someone other than Cam Newton that would make more sense for the Vikings to sign.

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