Case Keenum showed just about every way a quarterback could miss a receiver during the NFC Championship Game. He wasn’t erratic. He was actually quite consistent in missing receivers at the most important moments.
Keenum showed some of Brett Favre’s qualities on Sunday — but none of Favre’s good ones.
But the Minnesota Vikings should take the beauty of Keenum with the ugliness. During the regular season and the divisional round, he proved he’s a top 15 quarterback in the NFL when his positive skills are highlighted.
What better option do the Vikings have? Teddy Bridgewater’s career was prematurely eulogized, as he’s back with apparent ambitions to return to a starting role. But lost in those eulogies was Bridgwater’s mediocrity as a starter. Check out his stats — he never threw more than 14 touchdowns in a season. Sam Bradford is another option, but he comes with limbs and joints that spontaneously combust. The Vikings can draft a quarterback, but in the high 20s of the draft, their options won’t be a better bet than Keenum.
And let’s be real, Keenum wasn’t a total disaster. He finished the season completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 games. He took the Vikings to the NFC championship after beating the New Orleans Saints, who looked like the NFL’s hottest team heading into the playoffs.
He also made this happen. It was pretty cool. Maybe you’re heard about it.
Most importantly, for the first time in Keenum’s career, he showed signs of consistency. It’s not crazy to think Keenum, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Houston, has yet to hit his peak. He flashed signs early on that we may have missed, throwing for seven touchdowns, zero interceptions, and over 8 yards per attempt in his first three career starts with a bad Texans team (2-14), before interceptions befell him as that season wore on.
Matthew Stafford didn’t really look like a top NFL quarterback until his seventh season after 77 starts. Keenum has started 41 with three different organizations — and Jeff Fisher, every quarterback’s anti-christ, was his coach for two of those years, and that stretch did him no favors and probably masked his potential.
Keenum needs commitment from the organization and their next offensive coordinator, who will be replacing the Giants next head coach Pat Shurmur. The Vikings need to commit themselves to improving Keenum’s decision-making to help him take sacks or reset his feet when dealing with pressure. With some love from his next offensive coordinator, Keenum could emerge as an even more efficient quarterback.
There’s a strong case for Case (sorry, had to). The Vikings should invest in him this offseason, and see where Keenum takes them.