Some Want Vikings to Call an Old Friend after Cousins Injury

Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum (5) runs onto the field for the start of the game against the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will be without quarterback Kirk Cousins for the rest of the 2023 season after the 35-year-old reportedly tore his Achilles tendon on Sunday.

Some Want Vikings to Call an Old Friend after Cousins Injury

The Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field 24-10, but not before losing Cousins to the gruesome injury in the 4th Quarter.

Minnesota’s ownership and front office now have a decision to ponder at QB1 the rest of the way, and it looks something like this:

  1. Jaren Hall
  2. Nick Mullens
  3. Sean Mannion
  4. Sign a Free Agent
  5. Trade for a New QB1

And left up to some fans and media outlets, the wisest choice is a reunion with 35-year-old passer Case Keenum, who led the Vikings to an almost-storybook season in 2017.

Vikings to Call an Old Friend
Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum reacts after defeating the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Among several fan-driven theories and suggestions, including calling a recently-retired Tom Brady, Minnesota should send a low-round draft pick to Houston for Keenum as the special sauce for the rest of the Vikings season, according to some.

Keenum is treasured by Vikings fans, mainly because his rise to temporary stardom was unforeseen. In 2017, QB1 Sam Bradford was lost for the season — and essentially his career — to a knee injury, and Keenum took over with little fanfare. Before and after his Vikings stint, Keenum never caught on with a team as a consistent performer.

Oct 1, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (18) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

But inside the 2017 season, Keenum was superb, showcasing a playground-like knack for distributing the football, and Stefon Diggs, plus Adam Thielen, feasted. The Vikings finished 13-3 in 2017 behind a murderous defense led by the prime versions of Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph, and others.

Keenum was cut loose immediately after the storybook season, as then-head coach Mike Zimmer was never particularly enamored with his style. He landed with the Denver Broncos thereafter and struggled to remain the team’s QB1. Keenum later joined the Washington Commanders and failed to catch on as the starter. Then, he embarked on back-to-back QB2/QB3 assignments in Cleveland, Buffalo, and Houston.

All told, Keenum has played for the Texans (three separate times), Rams, Vikings, Broncos, Commanders, Browns, and Bills.

Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum (8) throws during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Since leaving the Vikings in 2018, Keenum ranks 49th out of 65 QBs via efficiency [EPA+CPOE (min.300 plays)]. Teams led by Keenum are 9-17 (.346), a win-loss record that ranks fourth-worst in the NFL during the timeframe.

Keenum also worked with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell for a season in Washington four years ago.

Dec 1, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) with offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

USA Today mentioned Keenum as a Vikings trade target Monday, among many options, as Nate Davis wrote, “Hard not to like this one. Currently a third-stringer behind rookie C.J. Stroud, Keenum took the Vikings on a magical run to the NFC title game in 2017 – by far, his best professional season.”

Rookie quarterback Jaren Hall is expected to start for the Vikings this weekend at Atlanta.

“He’s also under contract through next year and worked with O’Connell when both were in Washington in 2019, meaning Keenum’s learning curve on this playbook would theoretically be flatter than most. And would Houston really hold him hostage given there’s probably not much more he’s got to teach Stroud?” Davis concluded.

The Vikings have until Tuesday at 4:00 pm EST to decide if they trade away or acquire any players before the leaguewide deadline.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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