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Win over Lions puts Vikings in the driver’s seat to win NFC North

There ar few games around the league that have the type of impact Thursday’s win for the Minnesota Vikings. Instead of having a leg up in a tight race for the division, the Vikings are now lapping the field.

The Vikings’ win puts them three games up on Detroit with five games to go. Had they lost to the Lions, it would have brought them within one game and given Detroit the tiebreaker in the event of a tie.

The difference in strength of schedule could have opened the door for the Lions. Over the next five weeks, they face Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Cincinnati and Green Bay. Now even with five straight wins, the Lions wouldn’t have a great chance at taking the NFC North.

Minnesota has back-to-back tough matchups coming up as they play on the road at Atlanta and Carolina. They wrap up the year with the Bengals, Packers and Bears – two of which games are at home.

With two wins in a five-day stretch, the Vikings have a strong case for being the NFC’s strongest team – with Philadelphia and New Orleans in the conversation. The Eagles take on Chicago on Sunday and New Orleans takes on the L.A Rams.

Head coach Mike Zimmer isn’t getting overly excited despite his team’s 9-2 record.

“We really try to focus on each week. I know that’s a boring answer, but it’s really true,” Zimmer said.

The Vikings have been led by quarterback Case Keenum, who won his eighth game in 10 appearances this season. He tossed two touchdowns and went 21-for-30 for 282 yards.

“Any opportunity that you get is special,” Keenum said after the win. “Any experience that you have is priceless. I’ve used all of the experiences I’ve had. I’ve continued to try and get better and better.”

  • Cman

    I think Keenum is having success because he is playing behind a very good OL, and this offense plays to his strengths. He didn’t have this kind of cast in Texas and St Louis. Dare I say we should lock up Keenum for 4-5 years and let Teddy and Bradford walk? Sloter can be the backup, and if Keenum gets hurt or falters, the groomed Sloter can come in. I think that sets us up financially and injury wise long term.

    • Dougie Wilde

      A decent OL helps

    • Bob T.

      I’m ok moving on from Sam and Teddy, but when we can get something for them. Sloter is a big part of the plan I think. 3rd stringers don’t usually sign for a half a mil. Case isn’t THAT old. It will get interesting at season end.

      • Cman

        I agree. Sloter is a good looking rookie and I know Denver was badly wanting him to sign back. The Vikes paid heavily for him because so many other teams were trying to get him.

        If Keenum continues to play like this over the half of the season, I think you for sure have to let Bradford walk as he is having chronic knee issues now, Teddy hasn’t played in a long time, and there is no telling how long it will take him to get going, if he does at all.

        Having Keenum and Sloter in the fold, and drafting a QB in the later rounds, I think would be best for us. Keenum is playing just as well if not better than Bradford has since he has been here, and has put up better numbers than Teddy has since being drafted.

        • Wilbur One

          A lot of fans will agree to let Sam go, but the local sportswriters have jumped into the Teddy Tank. They’ll scream and holler if Teddy isn’t signed because they have their “Love Me Some Teddy” narrative to protect and without their Teddy narrative they’ll feel naked and ashamed.

          • Bob T.

            A sad world when the “I told you so’s” prevail over the reevaluations. SKOL W-1!!!

    • KennyLL

      Vikings could exercise option in Teddys contract that would have him here next yr under this year’s money. Then they could possibly trade Teddy. Don’t know if they would go threw with that option? I would. Keenum is the best thing we’ve seen around here since ’09

  • Jim K

    That is one aspect I have not seen written…Case is getting better every week. You can’t keep looking at his past. We need to focus on his progression and how well he seems to be working with the coaching staff and his teammates.

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  • David Prestin

    Vikings can’t sign any of these guys till they know who the OC will be next year. Our current OC might be a HQ next season. If Vikings have to bring in a new OC next year, they’ll likely sign the QB that best fits the new offensive system they run. Hopefully Vikings can keep our current system as it’s way better than anything we’ve had in a long time. But the price for being good, is bad teams taking your coordinators and making them head coaches.

    As for Case? If all our coaches return, I’d like him to return as well. He has “it” and your QB can be all everything but if he doesn’t have “it” , he’s not worth having. I think Case has the leadership skills as well. And listening/reading what his teammates say about him makes me believe he has the locker room too.

  • incentcar

    His responses to reporter’s questions shows the quick mind, high intelligence and appreciation of coaches and teammates that are necessary to succeed in his role. He should be up to the challenges that are coming, barring injury.

  • Gordon Guffey

    A lot of things have played into Case and his play ~ Half of it is Case IMHO and the other half and just as important is the OL and skilled players ~ No one throws that Ball but Case ~ But no one has to pass block but the OL and then someone has to run the right route and said person then has to catch the ball ~

    That being said the OL had one of its worst games IMHO vs the Lions ~ But still not bad for a group that only has one starter that was even drafted ~ I believe they get back on their game next week vs Falcons ~ A lot of it had to do with the refs letting the Lions get away with murderholding or just flat-out mugging the Vikings receivers causing Case to hold the ball more than he normal does ~

    • Jake Johnson

      Doesn’t help things one bit when their 6 million dollar man misses his third straight game.

      • Gordon Guffey

        If your talking about Remmers I agree ~ I’m more worried about his long term health at this point ~ There is life after football or any sport if you take care of yourself and do keep pushing like old RB’s who think they still have what it takes ~
        But I’m very happy with the way Hill is playing in relief ~ The good thing about Remmers is he can play OG and Berger is having a very up and down season ~ I saw him get pushed around by guys who have been run over most of the season ~





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