General News

Vikings Find a Backup Quarterback in Case Keenum

According to Houston’s Fox 26 affiliate, the Minnesota Vikings plan to sign former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum. USA Today’s Tom Pelissero later reported Keenum is joining the franchise on a one-year deal.

Don’t worry, though; Keenum isn’t here to challenge Sam Bradford. No, the Vikings are Bradford’s team, at least until Teddy Bridgewater returns to the field. It’s a complicated situation, made even more complex by Mike Zimmer’s recent comments on his two signal callers:

“There really is no other plan [for the future at quarterback] until Teddy gets healthy,” Zimmer said, per Mark Craig. “When he gets healthy, we’ll worry about it. We don’t know when it’s going to be. If he comes in tomorrow and is 100 percent, which he won’t, but if he did, then we’d have to adjust things. But right now we don’t know when he’s going to be ready.”

Let’s try to unpack this. Bradford is the immediate starter, Bridgewater is months, possibly years away from full health, and Keenum is now the third or fourth quarterback on the depth chart. Before the signing, Bradford and Taylor Heinicke were the only healthy options at the position with Shaun Hill likely departing in free agency.

In his press conference, Zimmer made clear the team planned to sign a veteran, and days later, pegged Keenum as their man. Last season, he started nine games for the Rams, throwing nine touchdowns to 11 interceptions before Jared Goff‘s expected depth chart ascension.

As a pro, Keenum’s never matched the lofty expectations he created for himself while at the University of Houston, where he finished as the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards (19,217) and touchdowns (155). Though he entered the NFL with proven production and leadership, scouts worried about at Keenum’s small build — 6’1,” 205 pounds. However, coaches love what Pelissero calls Keenum’s moxie, and his 24 professional starts suggest he’d be ready to fill in for Bradford if needed. Remember, there is

Remember, there is no timetable for Bridgewater’s return, making the current team Bradford’s and Bradford’s alone. Even with a $13 million base salary and $7 million cap hit next season, Bradford represents Minnesota’s best—and only—option under center in 2017. Although Zimmer said there is no plan for the future at the position, another record-setting season from Bradford would surely give the Vikings incentive to sign the quarterback to an extension.

Zimmer, did, however, continue to heap praise on the 29-year-old, calling his 2016 efforts “remarkable” and looking ahead to the coming months.

“It should be good. I think he [Bradford] feels good about things, getting back. I’ve had a few conversations with him this offseason,” Zimmer said, per the team’s official website. “We just talked about different things, players involved, that kind of stuff, and we’ll continue to have some more before we get back together, but what he did last year was pretty remarkable when you think about it, and we’re hopeful that he progresses from there.”

Keenum is simply depth at a position where depth, as all fans learned last September, can evaporate in an instant.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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  1. We still need to draft a QB in the later rounds. No faith at all in those two little guys we have as backups.

  2. Well we needed another qb. I hope hienicke can beat him out. I really like the kid. I just hope kfan was wrong about the guy, they called him the turnover machine today

  3. 3 words…Draft Chad Kelly. Character and injury concerns will cause him to fall. Love Teddy, but a miracle if he comes all the way back. Sam will get hurt this year, he’s overdue. Kelly would be our starting FRANCHISE QB in 2018.