It was a wonderful Thanksgiving for Vikings fans when their quarterback Case Keenum went into Ford Field and took apart the Detroit Lions, almost by himself.
That’s right. I said Case Keenum, the guy who was mostly ineffective for the Los Angeles Rams last season, but somehow has righted his career with the Minnesota Vikings so far this season.
Nobody thought Keenum would do this. He became the quarterback in Minnesota after Sam Bradford went down with an injury and is just lighting up the football skies. We thought he was done after last season when he was thrown to the wolves, before ultimately being replaced by Jared Goff in LA. Well, not the case here.
Many consider Keenum as one of the most efficient quarterbacks this season. Just two weeks ago, he put up big numbers against the Washington Redskins, despite having two picks to end that game. But since then, he’s been taking the quarterback throwing yards by storm, racking up 562 yards and three passing touchdowns without an interception. He’s got a 110.0 passer rating with a QBR of 89.2.
Those numbers resemble what Keenum is right now: A quarterback you can count on and it seems he’s gotten away from the days when he was an undrafted free agent trying to find a team he can call home. He’s potentially found one: It’s called Minnesota.
But like with any other quarterback on that Vikings roster, there are many questions surrounding Keenum and whether or not he’ll be the quarterback for the rest of the season and perhaps beyond.
Why Was He So Bad?
The one thing that why Keenum’a play might’ve suffered previously is the coaching. Remember last season with the Rams? His coach then was Jeff Fisher, and Fisher threw him in there because he felt that then-rookie quarterback Goff was not ready for NFL action. That put a lot of pressure on Keenum to go out there and be the guy, ahead of the number one overall pick.
Keenum didn’t suffer from Fisher alone. He also suffered because of another guy, then-Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras, who is currently the Tight Ends for the Buffalo Bills.
But things are different in Minnesota. Boras and Fisher are no longer part of Keenum’s game and he’s got a new coordinator in Pat Shurmur, who is helping to develop an offensive gameplan that is getting this team to new heights. Hey, coaching is everything and when you have the right coach working with the right system, things tend to tick upward and that’s what’s happened to Keenum. His skill set matches Shurmur’s system and it’s producing results.
He was not in the right systems with the Rams or in Houston before that which could explain why he was not very good in the past. Now, he may be developing into something that could turn around his fortunes and make him a quarterback this team can rely on.
Keenum For The Rest Of The Season?
With the way Keenum’s been playing, it would be hard to yank him now. However, with a healthy Teddy Bridgewater, one bad game could do Keenum in. The Vikings are 9-2 and they can easily win the NFC North. Keenum’s got high expectations to keep this team afloat and if there’s even a sign of a sinking ship under Keenum, it’ll be a quick exit for him.
Right now, though, I would think that Keenum’s job is safe, but only as long as he produces the results that he has been getting these past few weeks.
Future Of Keenum In Minnesota?
Many Vikings fans are hoping there’s a long-term solution to the quarterback position, but trust me when I say this: Case Keenum will not be the long-term answer, at least not beyond this season. Yes, he’ll most likely be there for the rest of the season, but I doubt Keenum is going to be the starting quarterback when the Vikings get to a Super Bowl and that most likely won’t happen this season. I actually give better odds to either Bridgewater or Bradford being the starting quarterback in the long run over Keenum.
It’s definitely not impossible that Keenum could be the guy. Trent Dilfer was that guy with the Ravens, but that defense, led by Ray Lewis, won Super Bowl XXXV. But Keenum, much like Dilfer, are not superstar quarterbacks like Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. They’re just not cut out for long-term success and stability.
So as I said before, I think Keenum will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, assuming he doesn’t get injured or have a bad game. The way he’s been playing so far, he’s been a reliable quarterback for the Vikings. But it’s not a long-term solution. Keenum is a nice player and he’s helping Minnesota now, but for the future beyond this season? Most likely not in the cards.