Why won’t Mike Zimmer anoint Case Keenum as the starter?

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With each win, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum looks more and more like the real deal. On Thursday, the guy operating under a one-year, $1 million deal outplayed the highest-paid player in league history.

And while coach Mike Zimmer allowed himself to praise Keenum more effusively than Zimmer has to date, Zimmer still hasn’t declared Keenum to be the unquestioned starter.

So why won’t he? The official PFT theory is that Zimmer, who once worked for Bill Parcells and still relies on him for advice, deliberately is keeping Keenum in limbo, because Zimmer believes that Keenum plays better when he thinks he’s on a short leash. Plenty of quarterbacks don’t; Keenum unquestionably does.

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph visited Friday’s PFT Live, and I ran this theory by him. Rudolph didn’t dismiss it.

“Well, that’s one of Coach Zim’s styles,” Rudolph said. “You know, he does that, not only with Case but with everyone on our team. He truly believes that we play better as a team when we have that chip on our shoulder, when we have that edge. When people are against us, when people count us out. So I wouldn’t be surprised if your theory is correct.”

For much more from Rudolph, check out Friday’s PFT Live at Apple Podcasts, where you should subscribe to the show, rate it, and review it.

40 responses to “Why won’t Mike Zimmer anoint Case Keenum as the starter?

  1. Because Case is still Case man. Shurmur and the O-line made Sam B look like Tom Brady week 1 and make Case Keenum look like a bonafide starter, so Zim knows how Teddy will look. Plus, Teddy can actually read defenses as well as anyone..

    Zim loves Teddy. Zim wants Teddy.

  2. How about because he doesn’t have to? The only people making a fuss about the QB situation is the media. If it ain’t broke..

  3. I agree with not throwing him in there Now, but as soon as Case does something extremely reckless, he will get pulled. The worse that could happen is Teddy stinks up the joint and Case cements his position………..unless he doesnt. You like that Florio?

  4. Or it could just be some contract provision that he gets a bonus if made the starter and by refusing to make it official the team saves some money.

    Cold, but some teams pull crap like that routinely.

  5. Case has been playing better since he’s been looking over his shoulder at Bridgewater. Zim wants to keep it that way. Zim knows what he’s doing. Zim is the man. Case has big balls.

  6. A short leash creates an competitive atmosphere. And that, my friends, is a successful coaching style. Another might be cutting bad habits. Vikings have to be cognizant of those.*

    *see gb drafting or pete carroll’s gum chewing.

  7. The quarterback position is the reason they won’t make it deep into the playoffs. One and done. Keenum will fold like a wet blanket in January.

  8. Zimmer knows Teddy would be lights out in Shurmers offense. He knows Teddy better than anybody. That being said he can’t take out the hot hand until he cools down. These next 2 road games will say a lot about what’s going to happen for the playoffs.

  9. Case is not a good QB, he just has a really good team around him with an elite defense that can keep teams off the scoreboard and contain them from threatening . Once Keenum faces a team with a very good defense that can actually get after him and pressure him, start hitting him, sacking him and consistently pressuring him Keenum will fall apart faster than a 2$ Dollar Suit in a rain storm. Thats when u will see the inaccuracy issues, the forced throws, his weak arm under throwing receivers and he will start turning the ball over, he is not a playoff QB , the Vikings offense is getting by on smoke and mirrors right now. The Vikings are going to need a QB to play at a high level if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs. I will laugh my ass off if somehow Case does manage to win just 1 playoff game likely because of MN’s defense if it were to happen and the Vikings end up signing him to a moderately long term deal, signing him for like 3yrs/$60M with 45 G’td, as he would instantly disappoint next year. I have a feeling the Vikings are just dumb enough to do it too.

  10. Zimmer has also said the Teddy looks great in practice, so why shouldn’t he keep Case on a short lease? Vikings have great depth everywhere. Great coaching at every position. And on our their way to hosting the Superbowl. Unless, of course, the Refs and NFL decide it shouldn’t happen.

  11. Keenum has been playing good football, but he’s an unknown quantity when it comes to the playoffs. He’s going to be facing the best of the best at that time and then everyone will get to see if he’s got ‘it’ or not. He’s seems better than a Ryan Fitzpatrick type, but not as good as a Aaron Rogers, type. I think if the head coach and everyone else was saying he’s ‘our guy no matter what’ he’d fall apart like Ryan Fitzpatrick after a new contract. I think Teddy B. is still the franchise guy that will eventually be back under center for the long-term. My guess would be that it would be preferred that he have some pre-season games under his belt to make sure he was ready to carry the load again.

  12. hawkkiller says:
    November 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm
    Case is not a good QB, he just has a really good team around him with an elite defense that can keep teams off the scoreboard and contain them from threatening…
    Keenum and the Vikings offensive line just completely dominated arguably the best defensive front seven in professional football in the Los Angles Rams a little over a week ago. You can’t hide your quarterback, just ask Trevor Siemian, Tom Savage, et al.

  13. @hawkkiller…the Vikings don’t have to wait to play very good defenses to see how they’d fare. In the last four weeks, Case Keenum and the Vikings have taken on two top-5 defenses (Ravens & Rams) and put up 24 points against each while allowing zero sacks. Apparently that $2 suit in a rain storm didn’t fall apart after all. Might want to hang on to your day job, I don’t think there’s an NFL GM gig in your future any time soon.

  14. Lol Rams do not have a top-5 defense. They have a terrible run defense and average pass defense.

  15. out of all the contending teams, the Vikings are the only ones who don’t have to worry about QB injury to derail chanpionship ride. Teddy and Sam will be behind Keenum for the playoff run.

  16. If the Vikings critics actually looked at the team offensive statistics they would be very surprised.

    YPG – Vikings 4th in the NFL.
    PPG – Vikings 8th in the NFL.

    Case Keenum – 10th in the NFL QB rating, 12th in the NFL in YPG, 11th in YPA, 9th in completion percentage, 11th in total yards with 1 1/2 less games played then the leader. 14:5 TD:INT ratio. 7 sacks taken in 10 games played, battling Brees for best ratio in the NFL.

    And that’s supposed to be the weak link of the team….

  17. Like others have said, having a chip on your shoulder makes some players thrive. I don’t care what anyone has said the last few weeks because I know for a fact Vikings fans and those doing the play by play were not thrilled with Cae when he took over for Bradford. He wasn’t seeing open players and looked like a guy who gets tossed back and forth between a few teams. However, he is now in sync and seeing open players. He is reading defenses. This kind of stuff takes time and he is coming along really well. One reason I love what I’m seeing now is both Case and Thielen were not drafted and had to compete. They have become stars. I love Teddy, but even if he were to replace Case he would need some time to get in sync also and do his own hard work in order to pick up on where Case is now. That is time we don’t have though if we want to clearly win the North and get homefield advantage.

  18. greenwhodat26 says:
    November 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm
    The quarterback position is the reason they won’t make it deep into the playoffs. One and done. Keenum will fold like a wet blanket in January.


    And here is another one. Seems like every week a new hater shows up.

  19. This is not even a factor considering the outcome of games, some people are twisted in their logic! Kennum is an elite QB playing at an elite level and has already proven that! What the Coach does or does not do is not a factor! What is a factor, the outcome of games!This is a real team built from the ground up with a very solid foundation! And how does that happen? Zimmer makes the decisions on who plays the game and how theses players play the game! And that is what matters! The basics of football: run the ball! play great defense! be fundamentally sound, have great athletes as players! And play as a team! I have no doubt another qb could also get the job done! I also have no doubt that any other player on this team is ready no matter what their role is and the depth of this team is their secret weapon because every team is struggling with injuries and Zimmer is not one to make the same mistake twice! The O line is working well enough to give the Offense what it needs! the defense keeps the other team off the field and gives the Offense the opportunity to get their job done! Simplicity the basics and fundamentals it just football not rocket science!

  20. I loved what Case said after the game… “it feels good being a Viking right now”.

    Listen I’ve been a fan long enough to know that counting chickens leads to heartbreak, but right now it really does feel good to be a Viking!

  21. Doesn’t Keenum hold the NCAA record for most yards? He’s smart, he protects the ball, and he doesn’t panic. Every tough situation he faces he learns from, and he’s faced his share so far this season. To top it off, he’s humble – which can’t be said about 90% of his QB peers. The guys he plays with like and respect him – which again place him in the minority when it comes to his QB peers. The only knock on him is his height. The Vikings are his team right now, and I believe that’s a good thing.

  22. greenwhodat26 says:
    November 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm
    Lol Rams do not have a top-5 defense. They have a terrible run defense and average pass defense.

    Actually they did . . . until they played the Vikings.

  23. Keenum is the real deal. He’s playing like an mvp. He’s the 4th best qb in the league right now behind brady, Wentz and brees. Haters say but he has a great team around him. So do the top qbs. You can’t be great without a good team around you. It’s a team sport and everyone needs to do their job to be a great team. Put Brady on the Browns and he’d be lucky to have 2 wins. You can put keenum on any division leader teams and he’d be just as good as Brady, rothlesburger, brees, wentz because they have good teams. It’s not keenums fault he played for a terrible texans and rams teams with terrible coaches who got fired. Now that he has a good team around him, he’s playing like an mvp with very little sacks and good td int ratio, good accuracy, good on 3rd downs. 6 game win streak, 2nd best record in the nfl with 9-2 rec. Hes Beaten many playoff teams and wildcard teams and contenders. He’s a very good qb. Everyone can see that. The vikings are having their best season since 98/99 and might get homefield throughout the playoffs thanks to keenum. If the vikings keep teddy and let keenum go at the end of the year, the coach deserves to be fired for letting go of their best qb they’ve had in 20 years and keeping a mediocre injury prone qb who hasn’t done anything in his career and averages less than one td per game. Teddy is like a weak version of Alex smith.

  24. Lots of vikings fans think teddy can do better than keenum. I’m gonna laugh so hard if keenum goes somewhere else because they wanted teddy instead and think he’s better than keenum, and vikings end up missing the playoffs next year with teddy as the starter. I can really see that happening and vikings fans are gonna be so mad at the coach for not resigning keenum and being a mediocre team with teddy and missing the playoffs. Vikings fans, you struck gold with keenum. You found your great franchise qb in keenum that turned your team into one of the best teams and a superbowl caliber team. Do not let keenum go. Keep him at all costs if you want to be superbowl contenders every year and possibly win a couple rings. If keenum leaves, the vikings will go back to being an average team.

  25. If the vikings make a dumb move in keeping teddy and letting go of keenum, the broncos would take keenum in a heartbeat and theyd become instant superbowl contenders with their great defense and good offense. I don’t understand the love fest for Bridgewater. He’s a mediocre injury prone qb who barely averages 1 td per game. What has he done? Seriously. And he’s coming off a 2 year injury. If he was mediocre before his injury, imagine how much worse he’s gonna be without his fast feet. He’s not a pocket passer that can carve you up like keenum can. Vikings fans better scream as loud as you can. Let your voices be heard that you want keenum resigned as your longterm franchise qb. The vikings are superbowl contenders every year with keenum. The vikings will be an average team with teddy , and he’ll probably get hurt again because he’s too fragile. I can’t wait to see what happens next year. Will the vikings ruin their superbowl window by keeping Bridgewater over keenum? Stay tuned.

  26. Keenum is having a great season and Zimmer would be foolish to change something that is working so well. I think he can take us deep into the playoffs. Unfortunately other teams are also noticing this and Keenum will be in a different uniform next season. SKOL.

  27. Agreed with the other guy. Zimmer should’ve been the head coach in Cincinnati years ago. The job he’s done with taking over the 32nd ranked defense and turning them into one of the best in team history,a team thats had some great legendary defenses’, has been phenomenal.

    I totally agree with whatever he plans on doing with Case.

    He’s 35-24 as a head coach and has all the purple congregation behind him

  28. redandgoldhitman52 says

    I’m happy for you that you think you are and expert on the Vikings QB situation. You obviously have no clue what kind of player Bridgewater is. I could give the reasons for his mediocre passing numbers in his first 2 years but I think I would be wasting my breath. I’m guessing you probably even think Kaepernick is better than Bridgewater by the looks of your username and that right there shows your football IQ. Stick with your own garbage team and their top 5 yearly draft busts.

  29. Keenum is going to get tired of the lack of respect his head coach affords him. When you have a “catch” on the line, you reel him in or cut him loose, but you don’t drag him behind the boat for a few hours.

    Keenum has been playing lights-out. Bradford did the same thing last year. Viking fans have been saying for years the Packers had no team without Rodgers and that the Vikings were better at every position but quarterback. They’ve gone on to say the Packers failed to win more than one SuperBowl with Rodgers because they lacked depth. They called them chokers if they didn’t win the SuperBowl, despite going deep in the playoffs year after year as underdogs. The Vikings are better at every position but QB, they were fond of saying.

    They talked as though winning a SuperBowl would be easy “if they only had a Pro-Bowl caliber QB.” They have everything else. They have everything the Packers don’t have. The Packers choke every postseason by not winning the SuperBowl because they don’t have depth and talent to support Rodgers. All the Vikings need is a QB.

    Well, they’ve had high-level Pro-Bowl QB play for nearly two seasons, longer if you include Bridgewater. Your defense is vaunted. Your special teams, receivers, running game……..all of it has been superior to the Packers. No excuses from here on out.

    The only obstacle to extending their league-leading postseason one-and-done appearances and loss totals is winning the SuperBowl. This is the year. If they do, I’ll congratulate them. If they don’t, I’ll label them chokers.

    Don’t look at me………..they’re your rules. You guys set the precedent, so you need to live by it.

    Good luck.

  30. How much is Bridgewater’s salary?
    How much is Keenum’s salary?
    There’s the answer.
    But, whatever it is that’s working is working w/Keenum at the helm.
    Go with the one that brung ya.

  31. stellarperformance says;

    not going to repost that novel
    So what you are saying is Keenum is as good as Rodgers? Interesting take from a Packer fan.

  32. greenwhodat26 says:

    November 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Lol Rams do not have a top-5 defense. They have a terrible run defense and average pass defense.


    Actually they had a higher rated defense than ours when we played them in week 11. Please get your facts straight. We get it. You don’t like the Vikings, and Case, but they have faced very good defenses.

    1. Rams – weather you want to admit it or not, but when we faced them they were rated higher than the Vikings defense in take away and scoring defense. Yes their one weakness was run, but they are a very balanced team.
    2. Ravens have a very good defense.
    3. Detroit has a good defense. They are in the top 10 in takeaways. Look it up!
    4. Bears have an underrated defense.
    5. Browns have one of the best rushing defenses.

    Haters keep picking on Case, but why you don’t you just realize it’s a team game. The Vikings put a very good offensive line in front of him. That is why things are going well.

  33. greenwhodat26 says:

    November 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Lol Rams do not have a top-5 defense. They have a terrible run defense and average pass defense.


    How did your Saints do against that terrible Ram team? 🙂 Who dat?

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