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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Mike Zimmer isn’t concerned with calls for Keenum as ‘permanent starter,’ nor should he be

By Matthew Coller

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has nothing to gain by naming Case Keenum is quarterback for the rest of the season.

The only reasons a coach would name his backup QB the permanent starter would be to either gain the approval of the locker room or to boost his current quarterback’s confidence.

Neither of those things need to happen. Zimmer has consulted his captains – a group made up of proven NFL players like Riley Reiff, Everson Griffen and Terence Newman – and it appears they are on board with the handling of the situation and Keenum has no shortage of confidence.

Each week, Keenum has stood in front of cameras and answered the question about Zimmer’s decision to name him the starter on a weekly basis. He’s shown zero frustration and managed a 114.0 quarterback rating since Teddy Bridgewater was activated.

So why change?

Zimmer won’t name Keenum the permanent starter just because pre and postgame show talking heads are telling him he should.

“I just think everybody’s week-to-week,” Zimmer said. “I’m week-to-week, the center is week-to-week, everybody’s week-to-week. I’m not looking to pull the guy, but I don’t think there’s any benefit to me saying, ‘Oh he’s the starter for the season.’ He could get hurt the next play. Anything could happen. I never said Bradford was the starter for the season. Everybody assumed it, but I didn’t have to say it.”

The Vikings’ head coach is known as being as up front and honest (brutally, at times) as you will find. One thing players don’t like is being deceived. If Zimmer is forced to make a change, he won’t end up coming across as having been dishonest with Keenum.

“I’ve talked to him,” Zimmer said. “I’ve told him the same thing I’ve told you guys.”

Zimmer has insinuated at times that he’s concerned about Keenum’s risk taking. So far, those risks have come up in the former Ram and Texan’s favor, but Zimmer has watched every practice rep since May and has seen Keenum at previous stops and broken down every single play on tape. He also coached every pass of Teddy Bridgewater’s career. Could anyone in the world know better what the Vikings have at quarterback than him? The national media started watching Keenum two weeks ago.

That’s not to say that Zimmer has been critical of Keenum – outside showing frustration over two late-game interceptions against Washington. After all, Keenum has won seven games in a row, putting Zimmer in line for the playoffs and possibly his best season as an NFL head coach.

“Case has done a good job,” Zimmer said. “He’s moved in the pocket, he’s made plays when he’s had to, he’s been efficient with the ball.”

We love to rewrite history, so if Keenum leads the Vikings to the Super Bowl, everyone can say that Zimmer’s decision to slow play the QB situation was a genius motivational tactic. ProFootball Talk’s Mike Florio insinuated as such in an interview with Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings’ tight end didn’t dismiss it, but motivation isn’t something Keenum needs. His professionalism and experience has made the situation into a non-troversy inside the team.

Part of the job of the head coach is to understand what types of personalities he’s working with. Last year, maybe you could accuse Zimmer of coming up short in that area, but not this time around. He’s aware that Keenum doesn’t need any fluffy quotes in postgame pressers or daily pats on the head.

Zimmer is also aware of how quickly a season can turn. He likely feels like Bridgewater is an ace up his sleeve. Maybe he is, maybe not, but at very least there’s another option if Keenum has a bad stretch.

Why would he make it harder to use that ace just to appease a media he doesn’t care about?

The post Mike Zimmer isn’t concerned with calls for Keenum as ‘permanent starter,’ nor should he be appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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