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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Case Keenum has another chance to play hero vs. Browns

By Matthew Coller

Heroes don’t always wear capes. Sometimes they come in the form of backup quarterbacks who keep a season alive despite crushing injuries.

To nobody’s surprise, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer officially named Case Keenum Sunday’s starter against the Cleveland Browns. At Twickenham Stadium, Keenum will have an opportunity to put the Vikings in the driver’s seat to win the NFC North – something you might not have seen possible with both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater out for all but six quarters this season.

In each of Keenum’s weekly press conferences, there has been a similar refrain: He always prepares as if he’ going to start. That was on display against the Chicago Bears when he went 17-for-21 with a touchdown pass in relief of Bradford. This week, the Vikings’ veteran backup is showing respect to a defense that has been among the worst against the pass in the NFL, allowing a 105.7 passer rating against.

“It’s a Greg Williams defense, so I know we have our work cut out for us,” Keenum said, adding, “I’ve been around him enough to know that he’s got something up his sleeve for every situation. It’s a matter of being prepared or being prepared for the unexpected, if that makes sense.”

This could be the last we see of Keenum.

While Zimmer has avoided giving daily “how’s Teddy look?” updates, the return of Teddy Bridgewater appears to be looming as the Vikings’ quarterback has been back working with the team for the last two weeks.

In Bridgewater’s lone media availablity this year, he noted that the team has a plan over several weeks to prepare him to play.

With the bye week coming up next, there’s a possibility he could start against Washington.

There’s also a chance we could see Bradford again – though each week that goes by without Bradford practicing diminishes the chances of him ever suiting up in purple agian.

On Friday, Zimmer was asked how good he believes the Vikings can be this year. He was mostly vague saying, “I think we have a chance to be pretty good.”

Until he sees Bradford or Bridgewater back under center, it’s hard to commit to the Vikings being great. But they could be great with a proven NFL starter under center. The Vikings have a top 10 defense and top 10 running game, plus a solid O-line that hasn’t allowed a sack since the first half in Chicago and two of the league’s best receivers.

The long-term success of the Vikings this season with Keenum under center would be harder to bet on. Over his career, the former Houston star has won just 12 of 29 games and has an 80.4 rating. It’s hard to see the Vikings beating the best of the NFC with performances like the last four weeks in which he’s averaged 196 yards per game and posted an 81.5 rating.

But for the short term, if Keenum takes care of business against Cleveland, he will have done a magnificent job. Normally when a starting quarterback goes down, his team should start looking at the next year’s draft. For the Vikings, they’re looking at winning the division – so long as Keenum is the hero again on Sunday – or at least does enough for the Vikings to win with running and defense.

The post Case Keenum has another chance to play hero vs. Browns appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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