Case Keenum is the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings right now, but expect Teddy Bridgewater to takeover by season’s end.
It likely won’t happen against the Washington Redskins. It may not even happen next week against the St. Louis Rams. Yet, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is definitely considering it. That is, a Teddy Bridgewater return as the starting quarterback.
Of course, I’m no mind reader, so I could be far off base here. Nevertheless, based on recent Zimmer pressers, the coach makes clear that he’s at least giving it some thought. Sure, he announced Case Keenum would start this week, but as far as after that, the 29-year-old has received no glowing assurances. Here’s a few quarterback quotes from the latest Zimmer presser:
Since becoming the Vikings head coach, Zimmer has built a reputation for keeping relatively to himself. In other words, he’s never been super forthright regarding much of anything. Even so, I think there’s more here than meets the eye. Essentially, what he doesn’t say speaks louder than what he does say. In this situation, one would think endorsing Keenum as your starting quarterback for the foreseeable future is the correct move.
I mean, he’s led Minnesota to a 5-2 records and boasts solid numbers with 1,610 passings yards to go along with seven touchdowns and only three interceptions. Altogether, it’s been enough to win games and last time I checked, that’s all that matters in the end. So, give the man the deserved endorsement. Allow him to build on his confidence over the first-half without Teddy in the back of his mind.
On the other hand, has Keenum really done enough to be named the long-term starting quarterback? In reality, probably not. Yes, he’s been good, but by no means lights out good. Additionally, we’ve likely seen him reach his ceiling, which may not bode well come playoff time if the Vikings need to rely more heavily on their quarterback. From this perspective, giving an average quarterback assurances seems silly, especially if Minnesota has a chance to do better.
In all likelihood, Zimmer realizes this better than anyone, a huge reason for the ‘wait and see approach’ he’s using to handle the situation. In particular, he understands that Keenum was signed as a backup for a reason after failed starting tenures with the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams.
As a result, the coach is leaving the door wide open for Teddy to step in. Obviously, he sees something in the 24-year-old, otherwise it’s hard to understand why he’s so quick to turn away from giving Keenum a long-term endorsement. Sure, it pushes Keenum to continue to perform, I get that. Yet, most quarterbacks don’t perform well under that kind of pressure either.
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When it’s all set and done, Zimmer may simply not feel comfortable giving Keenum the keys to the team just yet. But, that hasn’t stopped other coaches before. While some eventually eat their words and go a different direction, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the initial endorsement was likely to benefit the team by instilling some sort of confidence in their guy. Something Zimmer could do here by stating Keenum is the guy for the forseeable future, largely putting to sleep Teddy questions at the same time.
Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t done so. He’s not usually the kind of person that just says something just to say it. But, this also shows he’s not as sold on Keenum as most of the general public seems to be through eight games. In turn, I’d be shocked if we don’t see Teddy at some point down the road.
Who knows though? Keenum could continue forcing Zimmer’s hand in his direction, but it’s hard to see that happen unless he’s performing better than the average quarterback. Unless he’s showing that he can carry this team on his back when they need him to. As of now, that hasn’t been the case. No pun intended.
At this point, turning to Teddy may not be the popular move, but expect to see the Vikings turn to him sometime in the near future. All things considered, Coach Zimmer is making it clear that’s a realistic possibility and I’d go as far as to say, it WILL happen given the circumstances. For the time being, “we’ll just see how it goes.”