Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has put his backup quarterback in a position to succeed all season. Sunday’s 38-30 win over Washington may have been his best work.
Keenum may have thrown two ill-advised interceptions late in the game that nearly allowed Washington to come back, but for the first three quarters, the Vikings scored at will on the back of Shurmur’s play-calling and creativity.
The Vikings opened up the game with two runs by Latavius Murray, including a 14-yard scamper, then with two tight ends in the game, they turned to play-action. The safety in the middle of the field couldn’t get over to help Josh Norman and Stefon Diggs was left wide open for a 51-yard gain.
Shurmur’s creativity was on display again at the goal line late in the half. Tight end David Morgan appeared to block, then drifted out into the end zone wide open for Keenum’s fourth touchdown.
The Vikings consistently manipulate their personnel to find advantages. On the same drive, Shurmur moved left tackle Riley Reiff to the right side to form an unbalanced line, then handed the ball to Latavius Murray toward that side for a 13-yard gain.
All in all, the Vikings’ offense finished with 406 yards, 5-for-5 in the red zone and 8-for-12 on third downs.
Creative offensive gameplans have become the norm in Minnesota – a big change from the last three years. The Vikings entered Sunday’s game 13th in the league in yards and 13th in points. That’s despite losing the starting quarterback and top running back. Those rankings will go up after this week.