Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is actively eyeing a return to football in 2022, throwing in front of NFL scouts at halftime of Michigan's spring game on Saturday. But there's an alternate reality where the 34-year-old signal-caller would've returned to the NFL this year -- as a coach. When Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who helped spearhead Kaepernick's weekend workout, interviewed for the Vikings' head coaching vacancy earlier this offseason, Kaepernick's name emerged during talks with Minnesota as a potential quarterbacks coach for the team, per ProFootballTalk.
Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick during their time with the 49ers, did not propose Kaepernick as a potential QB addition for the Vikings during his meetings with team brass, according to Mike Florio. But Kaepernick was apparently a consideration for a staff position "if/when (he) decided to abandon his desire to play."
In the end, Harbaugh returned to Michigan and the Vikings hired former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell as their new coach. Kaepernick, meanwhile, is attempting to resume his playing career after a five-year absence from the league. The former Super Bowl starter has reportedly drawn interest from several teams ahead of the 2022 season, but he hasn't appeared close to signing with a new team ever since his departure from San Francisco following the 2016 campaign.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell began openly campaigning for teams to sign Kaepernick in 2020, when the league publicly acknowledged some of the off-field issues Kaepernick had famously been protesting during the 2016 season. This came a year after Kaepernick and the NFL reached a financial settlement over alleged collusion among team owners to keep the QB out of the league, as well as a failed partnership between Kaepernick and the NFL regarding a 2019 workout for team scouts.