EAGAN, Minn. — When Trevor Siemian embarked on a Mexican vacation in the thick of NFL free agency, he was excited to relax with his fiancée during her break from law school at the University of Denver.
As it turned out, he’d have a move awaiting him.
“I remember thinking I better get back home and start working on how I’m going to get my stuff over to Minnesota,” said Siemian, who played four seasons under coach Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern.
The fourth-year quarterback was traded from the Denver Broncos for a fifth-round pick and now enters the final year of his rookie contract with a new team. Barring injury, he’ll be the backup to Kirk Cousins, who signed a three-year, $84 million contract as Minnesota’s starter.
Siemian comes off a two-year stint as the Broncos primary starter, posting a 13-11 record. But he lost five straight starts in 2017 as the Broncos fell out of the playoff race and finished 5-11.
The Broncos opted to acquire former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum in free agency, which led to Siemian’s departure.
Minnesota rode Keenum, who started the season as a backup, to a 13-3 record and an NFC Championship Game appearance last season. They know the importance of experience at the backup quarterback position.
“Any time you have a guy as a No. 2 quarterback that has played in games and played well in games, I think that’s a good thing,” said offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
Siemian should play extensively against his former team on Aug. 11 when the Vikings and Broncos meet in the preseason opener. Denver selected Siemian in the seventh round in 2015.
“My first year I played one snap in a kneel down and then I started my second year,” Siemian said. “My role kind of evolved pretty quickly there. I could go on and on about how I’ve grown as a player and as a teammate, understanding how the league works, how offensive schemes work, defenses work.”
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer and DeFilippo have spoken highly of the communication in the quarterback room, where two new ones and a new offensive coordinator are attempting to mesh and help the Vikings repeat as NFC North champions.
“I think Kirk’s really intelligent,” Siemian said. “He’s done a really good job of taking control of the system. We’ve got some really good conversation going on in there.”
It hasn’t been an easy start to training camp with numerous injuries on the Vikings offensive line. But Siemian, who learned under Peyton Manning as a third-string quarterback in 2015, has been a steadying presence in meetings.
“Just as a guy, I love his demeanor,” Cousins said. “Whatever you want to call it — laid back, go with the flow, calm, cool. It’s just good for me to have there.”
Siemian and fiancée Bo Podkopacz feel at home in Minnesota, too. Podkopacz attended Wayzata High School in the Twin Cities area and met Siemian while playing soccer at Northwestern University. The two have a wedding scheduled for June 2019.
Just like his approach when facing a third-down blitz, Siemian has a wedding plan strategy in mind.
“I’m staying out of the way,” he said.