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Zulgad: Nothing to lose: Josh Rosen could have opportunity to quietly revive career with Vikings

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Josh Rosen was selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 draft with the expectation he could turn into a franchise quarterback. Rosen played 14 games, made 13 starts and the Cardinals went 3-13 in what turned out to be Steve Wilks’ only season as coach. Wilks wasn’t the only one to go. The Cardinals used the first pick in the 2019 draft on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and traded Rosen to Miami for draft picks.
Rosen’s second NFL experience didn’t go any better than his first. He played in six games with the Dolphins and made three starts for a 5-11 team that drafted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall in April. Two years into his NFL career, Rosen is 3-13 as a starter, has thrown 12 touchdowns and 19 interceptions and has a 54.8 completion percentage.
He also is looking for a job for the third time in three years. The Dolphins reportedly decided to release Rosen on Friday, meaning they couldn’t even find a team willing to send them a draft pick for a quarterback who is still only 23 years old. Rosen will go on the waiver wire once the move is made official. If he’s not claimed, he will be free to sign with any team that wants him.
That’s the key question. Who is going to want Rosen? He’s spent two years with two terrible NFL teams and, yet, there’s a chance that much of the league already sees him as a flop. Rosen might be happy to simply get a job for the 2020 season, but he also must be careful about where he signs. Jumping at the chance to join a dysfunctional franchise could be the final blow to a career that’s already on the ropes.
Rosen needs to go a team that has stability at quarterback, where he can be a forgotten man with no pressure on him and where there is a strong infrastructure in place. These are all reasons why the Minnesota Vikings could be a good fit for Rosen to enter the NFL’s version of the witness protection program.
The Vikings have Kirk Cousins as their starting quarterback and Sean Mannion as his backup. They reportedly were set to waive Jake Browning and Nate Stanley in the cut down to 53 players on Saturday and it’s likely one, if not both, will be signed to the expanded practice squad unit of 16 players.

The thing is in a season that already has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, there is an opportunity to give a guy like Rosen a legitimate shot to get his career on track. Carrying three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster wouldn’t be the worst idea, considering every team should have a plan in place in case its starter contracts COVID-19. The Vikings could be faced with having to start Mannion in the blink of an eye and then who would be behind him? Having Rosen in that role wouldn’t be the worst thing.
If the Vikings really didn’t want to use one of their 53 roster spots on another quarterback, Rosen also could be signed to the team’s practice squad. This would be a definite blow to his ego, but, again, Rosen needs to put himself in a position to learn and not worry about an immediate payday (he was going to make $750,000 this season) or his status on the roster. There would be no downside to Rosen being stashed away on the practice squad for a year and the opportunity to learn in Kubiak’s system would only help.
Cameron Wolfe, who covers the Dolphins for ESPN, wrote this about Rosen: For Rosen, the question has not been talent. (Miami coach Brian) Flores said Rosen had the best arm of all the quarterbacks in camp, but Rosen fell behind when it came to the processing part of football — identifying defenses pre-snap, being able to predict changing coverages and linebackers shifting, and ultimately being able to let the ball fly accurately and on time. Those are all skills Rosen has spent time working on this offseason in Miami.
Rosen might never come close to being the quarterback that some projected when he left UCLA and he could end up being in a long line of first-round busts that includes former Viking Christian Ponder. But, as Wolfe pointed out, Rosen also is roughly 60 days younger than LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, whom the Bengals’ took first overall in April. The areas in which Rosen is struggling to develop can take time and trying to do it with two bad teams in two years isn’t a formula for success.
Who knows? Maybe Rosen belongs in the XFL or out of football entirely. But having Kubiak and his staff work with him behind the scenes for a year to determine if there might be something there seems like it could be an inexpensive chance worth taking.