Who starts? Who sits? What to make of the Minnesota Vikings quarterback dilemma.
What do you do when you have three kind of/sort of potential starting quarterbacks on your team? Well, that’s exactly what the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff has to decide to do with Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater within the next few weeks of the season.
If you follow the Vikings at all, you know that before last season started, starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrendous knee injury that was thought to be potentially career ending. At the time, the Vikings were thought to be potential Super Bowl contenders and needed an experienced quarterback to run the show.
Enter Sam Bradford, whom the Vikings traded their 2017 first round pick for. After sitting out the first regular season game, Bradford started week 2 against the Packers. He went on to have a very respectable 286-yard and 2 touchdown performance in a winning effort against the division rival. Overjoyed fans quickly anointed him the savior of the season, and had forgotten all about the first rounder they had given up. Of course, this happiness was short lived and the Vikings ended up going a disappointing 8-8 the reminder of the year.
Fast forward to the 2017 season. Sam Bradford is now the starting quarterback and has stated he feels much more comfortable after being in the system for a whole year. At this point, Bridgewater is mostly an afterthought despite reports that he’s way ahead of schedule. The Vikings signed Case Keenum, who most recently played for the LA Rams, to be their top backup quarterback. Despite being the all time leading passer in college football history, the fifth year quarterback out of the University of Houston hasn’t quite found his footing in the NFL. He struggled in his starting role for the Rams last year, eventually being benched in favor of then rookie Jared Goff.
With hopes renewed, the Minnesota Vikings played their first regular season game against the New Orleans Saints. Again Sam Bradford lit it up his first game of the season, throwing for 346-yards and 3 touchdown passes. The Vikings headlined the opening week’s highlights and seemed poised for a great year. Then reports started to surface of a potential injury to Bradford’s knee. At first, head coach Mike Zimmer and Bradford himself downplayed the injury to the media, but as the week went on, the reports continued to get worse until he was surprisingly downgraded to out. This came to be a surprise to many, as there was no indication in-game that he had suffered any kind of injury.
With the understanding that Keenum would probably only start one week, fans hoped that he could do just enough to get them the win and onto week 3 for Bradford’s return. Keenum, of course, struggled to do anything against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Vikings lost. It was later found out that Bradford’s knee was much worse than originally anticipated, and that Keenum may be starting for a while.
Though Vikings fans feared the worst, Keenum came through with a monster game in week 3, posting a 369-yard and 3-touchdown performance in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fans and media alike started to wonder if Keenum could actually lead this team if Bradford ended missing significant time. Then came the week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions, which almost looked exactly like the Pittsburgh game a few weeks earlier. Again, Keenum struggled in a losing effort, giving fans the same dread they had after week 2.
A report then surfaced that Bradford might play against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Bradford did indeed start the game, but looked noticeably overwhelmed, as he struggled to perform his drop backs, and often fell down at the first sign of pressure. To anybody watching, it was obvious that he tried to come back much too early, and may have actually set him further back into his recovery.
Since then, Keenum has lead the Vikings to four-straight victories (including being the spark that propelled them over the Bears 20-17). Although he hasn’t looked great, Keenum has produced just enough to give the defense an opportunity to win on a weekly basis.
With Reports of Teddy Bridgewater being cleared for practice, the Vikings may have a potential quarterback issue. The big question is who gives the Vikings the best chance the rest of the season? In the next slides, we will review each candidate and decide who’s the best option going forward for the Minnesota Vikings.