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Every Minnesota Vikings fan knows the situation at the quarterback position. Teddy Bridgewater was drafted late in the first round after many thought he would be the first quarterback off the board. He played a season and a half of decent football, then fate took over. On a hot August day last preseason, Teddy suffered a catastrophic knee injury. It was suggested more than once that it was potentially career-ending. Already having one of the NFL’s most stout defenses, the team went out and traded a first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to obtain Sam Bradford. They decided that sacrificing a first-round draft pick was worth what Bradford could do for the offense. Don’t turn the ball over and don’t lose games for them. Sam does those things fairly well, when healthy.

Bradford played well for 15 games in 2016. Early this season, however, his twice-repaired knee began giving him problems. They were enough to sideline him indefinitely, and now his future with the team looks grim at best.

In steps career backup Case Keenum.

Vikings Quarterbacks: The Case For Case Keenum

Keenum has played amiably to date. The Vikings are 5-2 in the NFC North, and their most hated rival (and also most talented) the Green Bay Packers just lost their Canton-bound quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the year.

Now, after over a year of rehab, Bridgewater has been activated off the PUP list and has resumed practicing with the team. The question becomes, does Teddy give the team a better shot at the playoffs than Keenum does? This is assuming that Bradford is pretty much done in purple, as has been overtly suggested by several talking heads.

When you dive a little deeper into the three quarterback’s stats, they are actually all fairly similar. All three have a completion percentage near 65%, a total QBR of 60, and about the same touchdown to interception ratio, save for Sam throwing an abnormally low five picks in 2016, to his twenty touchdowns. Looking back at his career, those numbers will not hold up.

So where’s the difference? What breaks the tie? The answer is simple, actually: Sack percentage. When dropping back to pass, Teddy gets sacked about nine percent of the time, and Bradford ten. Keenum, on the other hand, only gets sacked two percent of the time he drops back. Why is this important? Because the ball is out of his hands quicker than the other two and that means less negative yardage plays, more moving the chains. Keenum’s is admittedly a smaller sample size, but for his entire career, his sack percentage is just a little over five.

Why Case Keenum?

I am not saying that Case Keenum is the long-term answer for the Vikings. Far from it, in fact. I am saying there is zero reason to try to rush Teddy back onto the field. He has not played in an NFL game in five hundred-some odd days now and is recovering from an injury many thought would effectively end his career in the NFL. I don’t see any logical reason to force him onto the field anytime soon, barring an injury to Keenum or a series of terrible games.

Teddy Bridgewater, if he continues to regain his health and fully recover, is likely Minnesota’s answer at quarterback for the long term. That by itself is a big question mark. He remained in Minnesota for his rehab and stayed around his teammates. By all accounts, he is a well respected and well-liked team leader. That means a lot for a quarterback, and when he is completely ready, he should be inserted as the Vikings starter. Until that time, it is in the teams best interest to let him be on the sidelines, continue to rehab, and come back when he is one hundred percent.

Until then, the Packers have become much less of a threat this season, the Bears are in full-on rebuilding mode, and the Lions still have Matthew Stafford, who cannot win in the Playoffs or against good teams in general.

The case for Case Keenum is pretty simple: He won’t lose you many games with poor decisions, he will keep your offense moving, and occasionally, he will look like Tom Brady. At 5-2, the playoffs are a real option and should be the goal. Allowing Keenum to keep starting gives the Vikings the very best chance to get to and advance in the playoffs.

After all, Wide Left now plays for the Seahawks, so we can all just worry about the quarterback position.

Josh Moeschl

Author Josh Moeschl

Boston native raised in Minneapolis suburbs. Wild and Wolves are my jam. Vikings and Twins as well. Also, my Red Sawx. Always feel free to reach me via twitter or email. @jmoeschl7 Thanks for reading.

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  • Andy says:

    I agree his is the best option. Sam Bradford is most likely done for the year and even if he were to be pronounced healthy, he is physically and historically unable to stay healthy for a long period of time. I also don’t think Sam is as good as a lot of people opine. Except for his 71% completion rate in 2016 by dinking and dunking passes down the field, his career completion percentage is only 62.5% and that takes into account his 2016 completion percentage. His career win-loss record is 34-45-1 or 43.13% but that includes the last Chicago Bears game where he had to be pulled prior to the fist half and Case should get credit for the win. Take that out and he is 33-45-1 or 42.41%. Case Keenum has a career % completion rate of 59.6% which is not that far off from Sam Bradford and so far this year has completed 64.2% of his passes. Giving Case credit for the Chicago Game, he is 4-2 for the season. It is questionable whether the Vikings win loss would be any better than 5-2 at this juncture regardless of whether it was Case, Sam or Teddy starting all 7 of the games. In my humble opinion, Case is the only known at the quarterback position. You know what you get with Case. Teddy has suffered a knee injury that many say almost cost him his leg. He has not played or practice since late August of 2016. Even trying to evaluate his play from practicing will not necessarily tell you how he will perform when he has behemoths rushing at him trying to decapitate him. I believe they should try to extend Keenum’s contract for two years based on a high end back up or low level starter pay scale. Activate Teddy and put Sam on IR. Let Case continue starting until or unless he becomes horrendous which I doubt. At worst, he will probably play mediocre in some games and occasionally light up the place in a few games. But let him manage the games, keep interceptions to a minimum, make a few plays passing and with his legs and rely on the defense to shoulder most of the burden. Let Bridewater sit, recuperate and be the back up for the rest of the season or unless Case gets hurt or becomes horrendous. Try to sign Bridgewater to a one year extension as a prove it next season and let Bridgewater, Keenum and Sloter compete next season with the best man winning the start and the others as back up.

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