Relationship with Case Keenum was beginning of the end for Mike Zimmer

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Case Keenum
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Case Keenum /

Was the failure of Mike Zimmer to embrace Case Keenum as a starting quarterback the biggest mistake of the head coach’s time with the Minnesota Vikings?

Back in 2017, the Minnesota Vikings had a season that will be remembered forever as one of the best in franchise history. That year, the Vikings were led by an elite defense and a journeyman quarterback in Case Keenum who started under center for the majority of the team’s games.

Minnesota ended up winning 12 of Keenum’s 16 starts in 2017 (including the playoffs) and his performance that season played a major role in the team making it all the way to the NFC Championship.

Despite the success that the team experienced with Keenum under center, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer spent the majority of the 2017 campaign refusing to commit to the veteran signal-caller as the team’s starting quarterback.

Was Case Keenum the perfect quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings under Mike Zimmer?

Keenum’s lone year with Minnesota will always be remembered for his role in the Minneapolis Miracle. Recently, we looked back at this incredible moment in Vikings history during an episode of “The Viking Age Podcast”.

Around the 34:50 mark of the episode, a question was brought up about why Zimmer never embraced Keenum as his quarterback.

To me, Keenum felt like the perfect quarterback for the type of team Zimmer wanted to have in Minnesota. The locker room loved him, he was never afraid to take a risk with one of his passes, and it seemed like the Vikings and the veteran signal-caller were just a really good match.

People will point to the NFC Championship as a big reason why Minnesota didn’t bring back Keenum in 2018, as he had a miserable performance. But he still led the Vikings to wins in 76 percent of the games he appeared in for them in 2017 and that should have probably counted for more than what it did.

Zimmer made it very clear during the 2018 offseason that he didn’t want Minnesota to invest a significant amount of money into a big-name free-agent quarterback like Kirk Cousins. So why did it seem like he wasn’t interested in keeping Keenum around for much less money than what was required to sign someone like Cousins?

Looking back, re-signing Keenum might have allowed Zimmer to continue running the Vikings as he did during his first four seasons with the team when the majority of the team’s assets were poured into the defense.

But the former Minnesota head coach never believed the hype surrounding the journeyman quarterback in 2017 and an argument can definitely be made that this is one of the biggest reasons why Zimmer is no longer employed by the Vikings.

Must Read. 30 greatest Vikings players of all-time. light