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With Minnesota’s playoff hopes on the line, former Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is getting a chance to start under center.
With starting QB Kirk Cousins on the COVID-19/Reserve List, head coach Mike Zimmer announced on Friday afternoon that the former OSU signal-caller would be in line to start against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday evening.
“Sean (Mannion) is a really good football player and we’re expecting him to play well for us,” Zimmer said. “He knows the gameplan cold, he’s an extremely brilliant person and he puts in the work every week like he’s going to be the starter. It’s his week.”
Mannion was activated from Minnesota’s COVID-19/Reserve List on Friday afternoon…
Currently in the hunt for one of the remaining wildcard spots, the Vikings (7-8) need this game against top-seeded Green Bay (12-3) to keep their playoff hopes alive. They trail Philadelphia & San Francisco in the standings as both have an 8-7 overall record.
“I think the team is going to rally behind Sean,” Zimmer said. “They know how important this game is and they believe in Sean.”
The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder has regularly seen action during the preseason during his career, but has only logged two total starts in his seven seasons.
The first came with the Rams back in 2017 in week 17 when the Rams were resting just about everyone in advance of the upcoming playoffs. LA went on to lose to the 49ers 34-13 in that contest with Mannion going 20-of-34 for 169 yards.
Mannion’s second start came with the Vikings back in 2019 also during week 17 when the Vikings were resting their stars in advance of the playoffs. They nearly earned the victory before ultimately falling on a last-second field goal 21-19. He went 12-of-21 for 126 yards and two interceptions in the loss…
While playing at Lambeau Field in January is about as tough as it gets for a new starting QB, this is an opportunity that Mannion has seemingly been waiting for his entire professional career.
After leaving Corvallis in 2014 as the most prolific passer in Pac-12 history at the time (13,600 yards in four seasons), Mannion has largely been relegated to backup duty during his time as a professional, spending time behind Jared Goff & Cousins…
However, the saying is to always be ready and to prepare like you’re going to be the starter, and that’s precisely why Zimmer is so confident in Mannion.
“Sean is extremely bright, he studies like crazy, he’s a great competitor, and he’s put in the time, so he’s earned this opportunity.”
Mannion & the Vikings face Green Bay on Sunday at 5:20 p.m. on NBC…