With Bradford out, what can the Vikings expect from Keenum in Week 3?


Case Keenum will make his second straight start for the Minnesota Vikings this season when the team faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

With the news on Friday that a knee injury will keep Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford out of action for the second week in a row, the team will turn to backup Case Keenum once again this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In his first start for the Vikings last week in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Keenum’s performance was nothing to celebrate about. The quarterback finished his day completing 20 of his 37 passes for just 167 yards.

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Case Keenum
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Case Keenum /

His 167 passing yards is the least amount that a Minnesota quarterback has finished with in a regular season game since the Vikings’ Week 17 matchup against the Green Bay Packers in 2015.

Now that Keenum has had a full week to prepare for another start on Sunday, what does the quarterback and his team need to do better in order for them to have a chance at beating the Buccaneers on Sunday?

For starters, he has to get the ball out quicker. There were numerous occasions against Pittsburgh where Keenum held onto the football too long and allowed the pass-rush to affect his throws.

In the play below, instead of quickly releasing a pass to Vikings receiver Adam Thielen crossing over the middle or checking down to running back Dalvin Cook, Keenum hesitates long enough for the defense’s pressure to get to him and cause an incompletion.

If the quarterback does not like what he sees after snapping the ball on a pass play this Sunday, there is nothing wrong with him throwing the ball away or checking down to give his team a chance. Too many times last week, it seemed like Keenum was trying to be the hero of the game, when all he had to do was complete a few passes on third down and avoid turning the ball over.

He did not have any turnovers against the Steelers, but Minnesota only converted on five of their 15 third-down attempts and that percentage must increase in Week 3.

The Vikings have to give Keenum a chance to succeed on Sunday as well. It did not seem like Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur changed much of his play-calls from Week 1 to Week 2, despite having a totally different starting quarterback.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

Last Sunday, the Vikings got away from running the ball early in the game and relied too much on Keenum’s arm to produce on offense. Yes, Minnesota was already trailing by 13 points in the middle of the second quarter, but they still had plenty of time to put together a few productive drives and put points on the board.

During the Vikings’ lone touchdown drive last week, the team rushed four times for 40 yards. On their other 11 offensive drives against Pittsburgh, Minnesota only gained 51 rushing yards on 16 carries.

There is no reason for the Vikings to even pretend they can run the same offense with Keenum under center. Hopefully Shurmur has realized this and will adjust the offense’s game-plan accordingly for this week.

As boring as it may be, Minnesota really just needs to grind it out on offense with a solid run-game and an efficient passing attack on Sunday. Without Bradford as their starter, the Vikings can no longer run a finesse-type of offense.

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So if being boring on offense is what it will take for the Vikings to get a win on Sunday, then being boring is what they shall do (or at least what they should do anyways).