With a 24-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams, the Minnesota Vikings moved themselves up the ladder of teams drawing the most attention. The postgame locker room was the busiest it’s been since the Vikings’ Thursday night matchup last season with Dallas. And the two players being talked about the most – and requested for interviews the most – are quarterback Case Keenum and receiver Adam Thielen.
The Vikings’ quarterback is getting the debate-show treatment. He’s been asked every week about Teddy Bridgewater’s possible return, whether he deserves to be named the starter for the rest of the year and how he’s taken a step forward from his years in Houston and St. Louis/Los Angeles.
The redundant line of questioning isn’t getting under his skin.
“I just answer the same questions that you guys have been asking, now it’s just different people asking it. I keep doing what I’m doing.”
Keenum has been through a “quarterback controversy” before – though this time it’s on a winning team. Last year he was asked on a weekly basis whether he was looking over his shoulder at No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff, who eventually replaced him. On an 8-2 team, of course, there is more pressure than with his sputtering Rams squad.
“Nothing’s changed,” he said. “Keep having fun, still playing ball. Still trying to ignore a lot of you guys are doing. At the same time having fun. It’s been great. You gotta enjoy these times because they don’t come along very often.”
Zimmer named Keenum the starter for Thursday’s game against Detroit, but has not given any indication of how long he will be at the helm.
Residents of Minnesota knew last season Thielen was a star. He averaged the second most yards per target in the NFL and flirted with a 1,000 yard season as Sam Bradford’s favorite downfield target. But many of his great games came as the team was struggling, so his play went under the radar.
This year, he’s become an underdog darling. You can’t go a single week without the broadcast going through his life story – going from Mankato to the NFL.
While he keeps telling his tale, Thielen isn’t reveling in his newfound celebrity.
“Honestly I just want to play football,” Thielen said. “That’s the best part about this league: Things happen so quick, you don’t have time to think about things. You just go out there on Sundays. When I get out there on Sundays that’s when I’m the happiest guy. It’s just like every game I played in high school and college, things like that, that gameday feel, there’s nothing better than that.”