Kyle Sloter calls out the reason Vikings stay with Sean Mannion
Why Kyle Sloter never had a chance with the Minnesota Vikings remains a topic of discussion within the team’s fandom.
The fifth-year quarterback dazzled Minnesota fans in the 2018 and 2019 preseasons but never dressed despite the Vikings outbidding eight other teams to sign him waivers in 2017.
Currently playing in the USFL to build his playing resume for an NFL return, Sloter spoke of a change the Vikings went through when they signed Kirk Cousins - who may have played a role in the team’s choice at quarterback.
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Sloter explains why the Vikings chose Mannion over him
Undrafted from Northern Colorado in 2017, Sloter signed with the Denver Broncos and shone in his first NFL preseason, completing 31 of 43 passes for 413 yards for three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating. of 125.4 – the highest of any rookie quarterback this season. .
Despite the impressive preseason, Sloter was released by the Broncos at the end of the 2017 preseason. The Vikings clearly saw something in Sloter, offering him triple the salary practice squad minimum wage and outbid eight different teams for his services during the 2017 season.
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Sloter said he felt like he was valued that season, but when Minnesota signed Cousins, the team’s philosophy for his backup changed, and Sean Mannion was valued more for his ability to support Cousins. , not for his actual game.
“I think my first season (with the Vikings in 2017) they were setting me up for something,” Sloter said. Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. “Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater had expiring contracts. But when Kirk came in (on a three-year, $84 million deal in 2018), which was a big pick-up for them, I think it was changed things. When you commit that much money to a guy, it was all about supporting Kirk.
“Sean Mannion was (two) years my senior, and I was only a young man (in 2019), so it’s a big lack of knowledge. Although I think my game was superior (to Mannion’s ), I think they saw in Sean the ability to help Kirk in class, and that was valued more.
Sloter’s resume from the 2019 preseason, when he and Mannion competed for the main backup position, confirms his belief.
He completed 76% of his passes for four touchdowns and one interception, compiling a passer rating of 120.0. He also never gave up a bag. Mannion completed 66% of his passes for two touchdowns, one interception and a 93.2 passer rating.
However, the Vikings opted out of Sloter, releasing him in September 2019 which launched the 28-year-old into journeyman mode. Sloter has had stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders since — mostly as a practice squad arm.
But Sloter sees himself a lot more and feels he hasn’t had the same investment that drafted quarterbacks receive in the league.
“I think I’m a prototypical quarterback,” Sloter told Tomasson. “I know teams are looking for first-round quarterbacks in the draft, and I’ve been sitting there. I feel like what they are looking for, they describe me. I am 6ft 5in and weigh 220lbs with a good arm. I can move and have a good head on my shoulders. So I feel like I have everything I need.
Sloter shines in USFL, prepares for NFL chance
Sloter led the New Orleans Breakers to a 5-2 record, leads the USFL with 1,499 passing yards and is third with nine passing touchdowns, showing he can win with higher stakes than the NFL preseason.
“I think I’m showing that I can lead a team, the most important thing,” Sloter said. “I show that I can win games and end up in big situations. I think I made a bunch of pitches in the NFL with guys breathing down my neck.
The Vikings brought Sloter back last season when Cousins and Mannion landed on the COVID-19 reserve roster ahead of a pivotal Week 16 game with the Green Bay Packers. Mannion was activated in time to start, but a lackluster performance and playmaker confidence led to an abysmal 37-10 loss that crushed Minnesota’s playoff chances.
Sloter, again, didn’t dress for the game and was released after Cousins went off the roster in time to start in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Bears.
Sloter hopes his performance in the USFL will give him more opportunities in the NFL once he completes the USFL season, which ends no later than July 3.
“The reason I (played in the USFL) is to pursue my career in the NFL, and I hope I turned some heads,” he said. “I can tell you there aren’t 80 or 90 quarterbacks in the world who are better than me. I don’t think there are 32 better than me. I know I can play (in the NFL ).”