Case Keenum is looking like the answer to the Vikings’ Super Bowl drought, but will they sign him for next season and beyond?
Currently, there are four quarterbacks on Minnesota’s roster, and three of which could be potential starters for an NFL franchise. The fact that there are four QBs could indicate that they aren’t sold on Keenum yet. However, Keenum was a late bloomer this season, so maybe the Vikings have just been stuck with four QBs. Nonetheless, the question must be asked: Are the Vikings all in on Case Keenum?
To answer this, we must analyze three key components to this dilemma. One, the current competition on the roster; two, Minnesota’s options in free agency and the draft; and three, what the rest of the league is doing–and the contract controversy that is Kirk Cousins.
The Four-Headed Pocket-Passing Minneapolis Monster
The Vikings’ QBs range greatly in talent, style and background. First, there’s Keenum. Undrafted out of Houston, Keenum has been a journeyman in the NFL. He’s already played with the Houston Texans, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams and now the Minnesota Vikings. He’s been relatively unheralded up until this year, yet all of a sudden, he may be the man to lead Minnesota to its first Super Bowl victory.
Second, we have Sam Bradford. As the number one overall pick in 2010 by the Rams, Bradford was expected to be the face of the franchise. Injuries plagued the Oklahoma Sooner’s early years, which evidently made him go to Philadelphia. After the Eagles traded up for the second overall pick to nab Carson Wentz, Bradford wanted out of the City of Brotherly Love and found home in Minnesota via trade. His injury bug has come back to bite him, however, after having a promising year last season.
Third, we have Teddy Bridgewater. As the second first round pick the Vikings had in 2014, the Louisville product was a project, but a potential starting QB for this franchise. Bridgewater had a few promising games early in his career, but two back-to-back devastating knee injuries has sidelined him ever since. Although healthy now, the emergence of Case Keenum has limited Bridgewater’s playing time. Teddy B’s time in Minneapolis could be numbered.
Lastly, we have Kyle Sloter. Now, the majority of football fans don’t know who this guy is, so let me tell you. Sloter is an undrafted QB out of Northern Colorado and first found playing time with the Denver Broncos in the preseason. Although he had some impressive performances, he was inevitably cut and signed by the Vikings. Sloter hasn’t seen action in the regular season, and his presence on the roster is simply because the Vikings’ QB chart has injury-prone written all over it.
With these four in mind, it seems as though Keenum is the best possible answer. If Bradford and/or Bridgewater were healthy, though, that could change things. Bradford has shown that he cannot stay healthy, and it’s unclear as to what Bridgewater’s durability is. This, in summary, has created a complex issue for the Vikings.
What are the Vikings’ options?
Just because you have four quarterbacks on your roster, doesn’t mean you can’t add some competition.
This year’s draft and free agency period is teeming with QB talent, and the Vikings will surely want a taste of it. It is likely that the Vikings do not retain Teddy Bridgewater, since his contract will be up. If one can remember from long ago, the Vikings also did not exercise the fifth-year option on Bridgewater, either.
Sloter will likely be gone and it wouldn’t shock me if he never finds work in the NFL again–it’s that kind of league, folks.
The two remaining are Keenum and Bradford. The Vikings have more invested in Bradford, since they traded a first round pick to get him. However, has Keenum shown enough for him to get a big extension? Surely, the Vikings won’t just let him walk, but they might have to pay more than they’re willing to keep him. However, they might have to keep Bradford in case Keenum turns out to be a one-hit wonder. This creates a salary cap dilemma, so if a team offers Keenum a large contract, Bradford could be the last man standing. This is all dependant on whether Keenum gets an external contract offer.
As for the draft, I don’t think they should bother early on–they have needs elsewhere. Later on, they could be intrigued to pick someone, however. Some names to look out for would Memphis’ Riley Ferguson or Nebraska’s Tanner Lee. They will only draft someone if Bridgewater is not retained and Keenum goes elsewhere– Sloter isn’t really a factor.
Minnesota’s QB situation is an absolute mess, and it is up to Case Keenum to be a reasonable negotiator in order for everything to be figured out.
Kirk Cousins: The Man, The Myth, The Franchise Quarterback?
As if Minnesota’s QB dilemma wasn’t already difficult enough, the Washington Redskins have inadvertently made it harder.
Kirk Cousins has been a solid QB over the last few seasons. In fact, he’s better than average. The football world is not sure what kind of personal vendetta the Redskins organization has against Cousins, but they won’t give him a big contract.
Since Cousins was a fourth round pick and was a late bloomer, Washington has always been skeptical on giving him a big contract. They fear that he isn’t as good as he’s playing (which is ridiculous). It also doesn’t help that Keenum went undrafted and didn’t emerge until this year. Nonetheless, the way the Redskins have dealt with Kirk Cousins has made it difficult for situations like the Vikings-Keenum relation to have a smooth landing.
Keenum’s going to want big money, but will the Vikings offer it to him? Will another team swoop him and give him the money he wants?
At the end of the day, it isn’t up to the Vikings front office. It isn’t up to Teddy B, Sam, or Sloter. It is up to Case Keenum and whether he wants to chase the money or stay in the Twin Cities.