Vikings should sign Colin Kaepernick to contract, ex-NFL exec believes

Ali Thanawalla
NBC Sports BayArea

With the recent events in Minnesota, Louisville and other parts of the United States, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is back in the news.

It has become clear that Kaepernick's message from his protests during the national anthem in the 2017 NFL season didn't take hold.

The deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville in March have led to protests all over the country.

In a column posted Saturday, former NFL executive and current CNN political analyst, Joe Lockhart, said the league attempted to convince teams to sign Kaepernick in 2017 and 2018, and he felt they had "done a righteous job."

Based on the events in Minnesota this week, Lockhart now realizes how wrong he was.

In an attempt to right a wrong, Lockhart believes the Minnesota Vikings should sign Kaepernick to a contract and give him a legitimate chance to compete for the backup quarterback spot in training camp.

"The situation in Minnesota right now offers a unique opportunity to deal with the symbols of racial injustice," Lockhart wrote. "As a small, but important step, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi and Mark Wilf, can send a strong message by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play with the Vikings. Bring him into camp, treat him like any of the other players given a chance to play the game they love.

"It will not solve the problem of blacks and police violence. But it will recognize the problem that Kaepernick powerfully raised, and perhaps show that, with courage, real progress can be made."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2016 and opted out of his contract in March of 2017 after the 49ers told him they planned to release him.

Last year, Kaepernick worked out in Atlanta, but no NFL team signed him.

While Kaepernick arguably is more talented than most backup quarterbacks and even a few starters, he has remained unsigned since leaving the 49ers. Lockhart claims NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spent a lot of time "prodding and pushing" teams to sign the former second-round pick. No one followed through, and Lockhart explained why.

"But for many owners it always came back to the same thing," Lockhart wrote. "Signing Kaepernick, they thought, was bad for business. An executive from one team that considered signing Kaepernick told me the team projected losing 20 [percent] of their season ticket holders if they did. That was a business risk no team was willing to take, whether the owner was a Trump supporter or a bleeding-heart liberal (yes, those do exist).

"As bad of an image problem it presented for the league and the game, no owner was willing to put the business at risk over this issue."

[RELATED: NFL briefly lists Kap as 'retired']

The only way Lockhart's suggestion can work is if the Vikings give Kaepernick a real shot to compete to be Kirk Cousins' backup. Even though he hasn't played the last three NFL seasons, Kaepernick has more natural talent than Jake Browning, Sean Mannion and Nate Stanley, the three other quarterbacks on the Vikings' roster.

Kaepernick deserves another shot to play in the NFL. If the Vikings want to make that happen, great. But it cannot be a PR move.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Vikings should sign Colin Kaepernick to contract, ex-NFL exec believes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

What to Read Next