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The next two games will answer the Vikings’ quarterback question

Case Keenum’s magical run is not without precedent.

There have been a number of backup quarterbacks to get their opportunity and run with it. There have also been a number of quarterbacks who got hot for a stretch, then reality set in.

So is Keenum the next Jake Delhomme? The next Rich Gannon? Or the next Derek Anderson or Nick Foles?

The Minnesota Vikings’ next two games are likely to tell us whether he’ll be leading them into the playoffs or cheering on Teddy Bridgewater from the sidelines.

On Friday, head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed what we already knew: Keenum will start next week. The Vikings will travel to Atlanta next Sunday, then to Carolina the following week, making for matchups with two teams in the thick of the playoff hunt – and two clubs playing as well as anyone in the NFL.

After a mid-season rough patch, the Falcons have won three of their last four – with the lone loss coming by three points on the road in Carolina. Quarterback Matt Ryan took time to adapt to a new offensive coordinator, but during the last four games, he has a 106.3 quarterback rating.

We don’t generally think of the Falcons as a stout defense, but they sit fourth in the NFL in yards per pass allowed and 13th in points against.

Carolina’s defense may offer the biggest challenge of the season. Across the board, they have dominated, ranking fifth in points against, seventh in yards per play, fifth in defensive expected points and sixth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA statistic.

He will also have to outduel Cam Newton. The 2015 league MVP hit a rough patch during the middle of the season, but he is coming off a four touchdown performance against Miami and has three games this season with QB ratings of higher than 120.

Wins on the road against teams that passes well and slows down opponents’ passing attacks would add significantly to the sample size of quality wins for Keenum. Performances on the road in Washington and Detroit already have increased confidence that he can win even when his defense struggles at times.

At 9-2, the Vikings’ eyes are solely on becoming a legitimate Super Bowl-caliber team by the time the playoffs begin. They have all the makings of a top contender with two star receivers, a top-10 running attack, an elite defense and a creative offensive coordinator.

If Keenum’s magic runs out over the next two weeks, Zimmer will have to find out whether Bridgewater can find his 2015 form and fit into Pat Shurmur’s offense.

If he continues to roll, Keenum will have done enough to prove he belongs under center for the postseason.

  • SM

    Start TB against the Bungals to give him some game time – insurance for the post season. If Case gets injured or tanks, the back-up with no real game snaps and
    matched against quality opponents is near worthless.

    It’s called risk management. Just one hit to head or knees and the QB is outta the game.

    • Gordon Guffey

      Zimmer says he is getting all the work in practice ~ Maybe Zimmer is protecting Teddy if they dont have to have him and right now they dont have to have him ~

      What Case is doing is far more than by luck ~ Even Zimmer said after he made the horse shoe comment that he need to walk it back because he was talking about the pass to Thielen vs the Rams ~ If you go back and watch that play the ball got there in time for Thielen to catch it and turn ~ More than the time on other passes thrown by a lot of NFL QB ~

      Not fussing just repeating what Zimmer has said ~ Now this is my short hand version but you can find it here at for yourself ~ That happens to be the Vikings official website ~ Or thats what they say ~

      • SM

        Yea, I read the team stuff. But practice reps are not same as game minutes.
        I will eat my vikes hat if TB don’t get reps before end of season.

        • Gordon Guffey

          I will watch you do it too SM ~ Smile Face 🙂

          Unless the Vikings are blowing someone out then I just dont see it ~ As Zimmer said last week it sends the wrong message to your team and most importantly your starting QB ~ As always you know this is my short hand ~ So please take the time to look it up on ~ I have been wrong once in my life ~ If you dont believe me just ask my ex wife ~ LOL

        • Daxquartermain

          Want some mustard?

          • SM

            I said “reps, NOT start.

            I will just add this point:
            Does anyone think Rick and Zimm would make plans to go deep into the post season with a back-up QB that didn’t have ONE single real game series of snaps in TWO years?

            Nosir. Uh-uh. Noper. No. Nein. Nyet.

            Maybe they think Sam will be back. Hehe

          • Scott Myhre

            Believe it or not, Troy Aikman mentioned that yesterday. Sam would be eligible to come off IR if we make it into the playoffs, and if we should need him. Wouldn’t that be a different twist on the whole thing?

          • SM

            Yes, and the whole how good is Sam’s knee discussion. A fine kettle of fish.

  • styx rogan

    trade him to “the boys” they need a QB!

  • Gordon Guffey

    Next two game ~ He has the job now doesn’t he ~ He isn’t getting beat out by anyone nor is he being pushed if you just lesion to Zimmer after the game comments ~ Its clear to most team fans ~ LOL

  • Gordon Guffey

    Posted: 2 hours ago
    Zimmer on Officiating, Special Teams, Offensive Success

    Head Coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media from Winter Park on Friday.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Lions can’t accept that they were offside on on blocked field goal
    Posted by Michael David Smith on November 24, 2017, 1:18 PM EST

    • Cman

      All they need to do is look at the replays. If they still think otherwise, then all I can suggest to them is to invest their money wisely, because they would be to dumb to even work at McDonalds

  • Gordon Guffey

    Good read and fair enough ~

  • Gordon Guffey

    Does anyone else believe the facemask call on Eric Kendricks was correct ~ ??? It looked like he reach out and touched the mask but he never took hold of it from what I saw ~

    • Cman

      That is one of the calls that the refs were scrutinized for by announcers. The officials screwed the Vikings all day long.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Well wasn’t this a nice end to the game ~

    Jim Souhan

    As clock ran out, Diggs yelled at an official who pulled out his flag, then jogged after Diggs, pointing. I think a fine will be in order. #Vikings
    4:04 PM – Nov 23, 2017
    16 16 Replies 5 5 Retweets 30 30 likes
    See the conversation on Twitter

    • optionbets

      Can they fine officials? I wish they would make a portion of official salaries finable. If they can fine players, fine officials. Then they may care about getting it right and pulling their head out of their collective rears

  • optionbets

    I think the gameplan against Keenum is to force him to throw flat footed or off his back foot.
    And contain rather than try to get sacks. His already less then elite arm strength and less than pinpoint accuracy will diminish under these conditions. Contain his mobility and bull rush and inside stunts while preventing him from having a pocket to step into. Don’t come after him, let him come to you trying to climb a pocket that isn’t there or trying to make something happen with his feet, if you come at him he will Houdini escape and get a chance to step into the throw. If you are going to let him scramble make it either be to a shortened field (to his right when the ball starts on the right hash) or to his left where squaring up and throwing is difficult. And/or be patient and force him to take 1-3yard throws all game long and try to bait him into throwing an INT and catch him sleeping later in game by mixing up coverage from the same look.

    Detroit showed some of this with soft coverage since tight coverage will usually result in Theilen burning defenders all over the field or Wright on a crosser or Diggs deep.

    I don’t think the gameplan is to BEAT Keenum as many have been trying but instead to contain him and force the Vikings to try to win a 20-14 style of game which will put more pressure on the defense and force the offense to take sacks, throw the ball away, pass more especially short yardage high completion passes and force Keenum to make some accurate throws in between coverages without being able to using his feet to manipulate coverages or else just take checkdowns all day with occasional throw always and taking sacks rather than taking risks.

    I bet Atlanta is going to plan for something like this with perhaps some wrinkles of their own and these style of games make it harder to put opponents away.

    • cka2nd

      Lots of good points, especially about forcing Keenum to throw off his back foot and not allowing him to step up into the pocket, but I think it is premature to try to shoehorn Bridgewater into a start while Keenum and the offense are chugging along so well.

      Also, Bridgewater’s 2015 form wasn’t all that good, Mr. Coler, so I hope when or if he returns, it will be an improved Teddy that we see.

      • optionbets

        Well, In hindsight I wish we would have seen more of Teddy. Although hopefully the fact no one else saw him means the cost will be cheaper because of it.

  • Louis

    These pro-Bridgewater articles sure are a pain.

    • optionbets

      I didn’t read this article as pro Bridgewater at all. It’s Case has the ability to control his own destiny by continuing to win.

      • David Prestin

        That’s true for all but a very few QBs in the league.

        • optionbets

          I’d agree, That’s true for any QB getting paid big money or without quality depth or that a team invested in as their QB with an early pick. Still, putting him in that category seems more pro Keenum than pro Teddy.

      • Louis

        This autor puts out Bridgewater updates twice a week, explaining how this team is going nowhere without teddy. He seems to remember teddy pre-leg falling off differently than i do. I remember an offense that had great difficulty scoring. So now, this article, saying guess case gets to keep job since team is scoring about a touchdown per game more, while having a much higher passer rating than teddy, as long as the team never stumbles and wins out. Case just has to also have a passer rating 10 points higher than teddy every week, etc. Case is playing at a pro bowl level, has Vikes on a huge win streak, and stretches the field.

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  • Jake Johnson

    You know Matt, there shouldn’t be the expectation that Keenum performs well enough to win these next two games in order to continue starting. It just doesn’t make sense to me- they’ve won a lot of games already with him under center and he’s played really well. Back in ’09 the Vikings and Favre were 10-1 and stunk it up at Arizona, Carolina, and Chicago, finishing 12-4 and losing the top spot.

    • cka2nd

      Farve was an established star, long-time starter, Super Bowl champion and league MVP. As such, he got the benefit of the doubt. Keenum is none of those things so he doesn’t get the long leash that a Farve or Peyton Manning got. That’s just the way the world works.

      • Jake Johnson

        No shit, Sherlock. The point is, good teams are going to lose some games, regardless of who the quarterback is, particularly on the road.

  • fritzdahmus

    What QB question?? The one that is only in YOUR head Matthew Coller (and Judd).

    There is a very small number of players who are guaranteed starters because it is obvious they are stars. All others are having good seasons, or a good stretch of games.

    Leave it at that, or maybe just get a new headline writer. I admit, I didn’t even read your stupid Viking’s article.

    • cka2nd

      “There is a very small number of players who are guaranteed starters
      because it is obvious they are stars. All others are having good
      seasons, or a good stretch of games.”

      Lots of non-stars are basically guaranteed starters because the team is not bringing in anyone they expect to compete with them for the starting position. Teams have higher and lower priorities, and it is not a priority for the Vikings to bring in someone to compete with Kyle Rudolph or Eric Kendricks or Riley Reiff or Pat Elflein for their jobs. It would take an injury or a very precipitous decline in their play for Morgan or Gedeon, Brothers or Hill to replace them.

      I’m sure you’ve seen starters described as someone the team is “always looking to replace.” People say that because there aren’t all that many positions on a winning team where they are always looking for an upgrade, and because management never has the resources to bring in annual competitors for all of the solid if unspectacular starters as well as fixing the OL or building up the bench. And that’s why, two years ago, Zimmer and Co. made such a big deal of having open competitions at three of the five offensive line spots; no one was talking about Rudolph or Kendricks or Alex Boone or Teddy Bridgewater competing for their starting jobs.

      Case is not yet an established starter. He has had good stretches before that were followed by bad stretches. He’s having the best stretch of his career right now, and I certainly see no reason to bench him just to get a look at Teddy or because Teddy may have a higher upside. But I’m not in favor of treating Keenum as if he’s Andy Dalton or Carson Palmer, who are established starters. We can still enjoy the season we are having without losing our heads over either Keenum or Bridgewater.

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  • David Prestin

    Didn’t read the article. Headline was enough. I could have sworn the Skins, Rams, Lions games were going to answer the QB questions for you, Mathew. I can’t believe you’re still trying to throw QB articles out there.

  • beloitgopher

    Case is the Guy!

    Case is smart and He’s played a few years. Most QB’s hit their stride after they’ve played in the NFL for 4 to 5 years. Case has done just that and is the Starter for the remainder of the season.


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