Vikings fought hard to land newly promoted QB Kyle Sloter

Kyle Sloter starred for the Broncos during the preseason and when he wasn't retained the Vikings swooped in to add him. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Editor's note: This was updated after Sunday's news that Sam Bradford was ruled out.

PITTSBURGH -- Two weeks ago as the Minnesota Vikings were trimming their roster from 90 to 53 players, and then a day later setting up their practice squad, general manager Rick Spielman was in the midst of a multi-team race to land one of the preseason's rising stars.

Kyle Sloter spent training camp with the Denver Broncos after going undrafted out of Northern Colorado. The quarterback played in all four preseason games and he led the NFL with a 125.4 passer rating. Sloter completed 31 of 43 passes for 413 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Denver was faced with a tough decision, knowing it would not be able to keep four quarterbacks with Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and then re-signing Brock Osweiler after he was cut by Cleveland. The Broncos had already placed seventh-round pick Chad Kelly on injured reserve when it made its roster cuts.

"Kyle Sloter did a hell of a job in the preseason and had a hell of a camp," Denver general manager John Elway told local reporters following the team's roster cuts. "As I told him today when I talked to him, I said, 'You don't know this, but I'm telling you from experience going from the preseason to the regular season is a big jump.' We didn't want to put him in that situation."

Elway hoped Sloter would be available to re-sign off of waivers, but other teams were eager to pay up and land the quarterback's talents. That included the Vikings, Redskins and Bills.

Practice squad players typically make $7,200 per week. Minnesota made its intentions clear with how much it valued Sloter by offering nearly triple that, paying him $20,000 a week to be third in line at practice behind Sam Bradford and Case Keenum.

"We needed a third quarterback," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "I thought he had a good preseason. He's an athletic guy, strong arm, big."

Sloter started out as a wide receiver at Southern Mississippi before he transferred to Northern Colorado where he made nine starts at quarterback. He was mentored by former Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild throughout the draft process.

Minnesota signed Sloter to the 53-man roster on Saturday, making room for a third quarterback by waiving safety Antone Exum Jr.

The move spoke to the concern the Vikings had with the health of Sam Bradford, who was ruled out Sunday morning. Bradford is having trouble with the same knee he had surgery on to repair a torn ACL in 2013 and 2014.

Keenum will replace Bradford as the starter with Sloter backing up the former Los Angeles Rams quarterback.