Minnesota Vikings: Is Case Keenum the Real Deal?

Case Keenum was not the name that came up when talking about keys for the Minnesota Vikings to be a serious playoff contender in the NFC at the beginning of the season. Names like Sam Bradford, Dalvin Cook, and potentially Teddy Bridgewater were thrown around at a much higher rate than Keenum’s was. That being said, Keenum has taken over the starting job and has led the Vikings to an impressive 10-3 record.

If the season ended today, the Vikings would actually be the No. 2 overall seed in the NFC.

Minnesota’s offense has not been a weak point, which many would think with Keenum starting. They have a top-notch defense, but the offense certainly has not been carried by the defense. Keenum has been able to become a legitimate playmaker, while also limiting turnovers.

Throughout the course of the 2017 season to this point, Keenum has completed 66.8 percent of his pass attempts for 2,983 yards, 18 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He has not given head coach Mike Zimmer any reason to consider benching him.

Now, the question becomes, is Keenum the real deal for the Vikings? Does he have a future in Minnesota past the 2017 season?

Quite simply, Keenum will remain the starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2017 season, but his future is cloudy. Bridgewater is back and healthy for the Vikings and they are still committed to him long-term. Keenum could potentially earn the starting job for next year, but it would take a deep playoff run.

At just 25 years of age, many in Minnesota still believe that Bridgewater is the teams franchise quarterback. Even with Keenum revitalizing his career, the Vikings could still choose Bridgewater’s potential over Keenum.

Sam Bradford, on the other hand, will be a free agent at the end of the season and there is no chance that the Vikings will go out and re-sign him.

Keenum has shown flashes of potential throughout his career leading up to this point. Back in his rookie season in 2013, Keenum played in eight games and looked solid for the Houston Texans. He also had chances to play heavily last year for the Rams, although he did not take advantage of that opportunity and ended up being replaced by Jared Goff.

To answer the first question, Keenum is definitely for real when it comes to what he is capable of doing. He should be able to keep his strong play up moving forward with the Vikings. That being said, a lot of his success has to do with the situation he is in and the way that he fits within the Minnesota offense.

As for his long-term future with the Vikings, it would be surprising to see him be the starter next season. A full offseason of competition with Bridgewater would be very difficult for him to win.

More than likely, Bridgewater will be the Vikings’ starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season.

If the Vikings are able to make a deep playoff run and make it to the Super Bowl, Keenum might just earn the starting title for the beginning of next season. That being said, it’s hard to see Keenum leading a Super Bowl run.

Expect to see Keenum finish the season off strong, but don’t be surprised if he is the backup to Bridgewater next season.

Evan Massey is the Managing Editor for Lifestyle Sports 101. He is a sports writer who has also covered politics, entertainment, and many other things. He has seen his work featured on ESPN, Forbes, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, and plenty of other online publications.