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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings’ HC Zimmer explains why Keenum thrived vs. Bucs

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings knew when they signed Case Keenum that he was capable of having big games.

In 26 starts before Sunday’s game, the former Texan and Ram QB had two starts of more than 320 yards, five career starts with 110 quarterback rating or higher and five games with 10 yards per attempt or higher.

But none of those games topped his performance against the Bucs. Keenum set a career high in yards with 369, tied his best touchdown total (3) and set his second highest rating at 142.1. His 95.6 QBR (an ESPN-invented 1-100 rating system) was easily his top rating.

Keenum’s big game against the Bucs was a 180 from his debut against Pittsburgh. The Steelers held him to only 167 yards on 37 attempts. Head coach Mike Zimmer said the difference was that Keenum had the whole week to prepare rather than face uncertain circumstances as he did going into the Pittsburgh game.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the timing of when he knew he was going to play, changing the plan,” Zimmer said. “I think he was confident going in, felt good about the plays.”

Keenum’s comfort with the offense was evidenced on one particular play. On 3rd-and-7 from the Tampa Bay 30, Keenum read a cornerback blitz and quickly found Adam Thielen 1-on-1 with safety Chris Conte. Conte had no chance vs. the speedy receiver and Keenum found him open for a 19-yard gain, setting up the Vikings’ second touchdown.

Zimmer was also quick to point out the performances around the Vikings’ quarterback. The offensive line did not allow a hit on Keenum while Dalvin Cook ran for 97 yards and added 72 yards receiving out of the backfield and both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen made highlight-reel catches.

“You have to give all the guys some credit, they executed. The offensive line, we ran the ball well, [Dalvin] Cook had some really good runs, the offensive line blocked, protected well,” Zimmer said. “We made some really good catches [Adam] Thielen had a great catch [Stefon] Diggs had a great catch. Sometimes it’s just how it goes. It’s like I say, it’s week-to-week. We just try and as best we can each week.”

Keenum started in place of Sam Bradford, who is still battling a knee injury. It was reported Sunday by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissaro that Bradford is still recovering from a bone bruise. A timeline is unclear and Zimmer still called his starting QB “day-to-day,” but it appears probable that Keenum will start again against the Detroit Lions at US Bank Stadium this Sunday.

The post Vikings’ HC Zimmer explains why Keenum thrived vs. Bucs appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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