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I still believe in you, Teddy Bridgewater

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But 14 Touchdowns...

The Minnesota Vikings are currently on a seven game win streak and are 9-2. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum is playing arguably his best stretch of football in his career. Most statistics that would put Keenum in the top 10 of current starting quarterbacks. Many would love for Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer to name Keenum the starter for the rest of the season, but some are not quite there yet.

But 14 Touchdowns...

There is another player patiently waiting on the sidelines after being out of football for 15 months. Teddy Bridgewater is itching to be under center once again, and there are a few who share this sentiment. Many have found themselves exhausted by the constant Keenum vs. Bridgewater arguments on who should play. “Stick with the hot hand” or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” have become the rallying cry for those who prefer to continue to see Keenum under center (or rather don’t want to see Bridgewater on the field). The problem with these sayings is that don’t actually articulate why Keenum should remain the starter (though there are plenty of valid points as to why he should).

But 14 Touchdowns...

Many have said that this quarterback situation has been created by the fans, media, or a fabrication of social media. This is not smoke that fans are trying to grasp, this is not the media chasing a squirrel on a play ground, but an important question that should be answered.

But 14 Touchdowns...

Arguing advance statistics vs. raw statistics, citing specific metric comparisons, even contextualizing film can become a moot point. Those pining for Bridgewater might cite precedence as it pertains to Keenum, but often falls on deaf ears. In the past Keenum simply has not performed well enough to be considered a true starter. It must be stated(though there will still be anger in the comment sections regardless) that Case Keenum as performed astronomically well over his last three previous games. When you compare how well the two players have performed prior to this season according to Pro Football Reference, it is clear the Vikings were more likely to get a “good” or “great” game from Bridgewater than you are Keenum.

Pro Football Reference

But 14 Touchdowns...

When everyone looks at this team they see an improved offensive line, they see a flexible run game, and a quarterback who has weapons playing at a high level. In the year 2015 that was not the case. Stefon Diggs did not see the field until the fourth game of the season against the Denver Broncos. Adam Thielen was a rotational player and Mike Wallace was brought in to be a field stretcher. Matt Kalil and TJ Clemmings were the teams Left and Right Tackle, respectively, and they play was synonymous to dumpster juice. Someone named Charles Johnson was suppose to be the teams possession receiver, and the enthusiasm around Cordarrelle Patterson was waning. Despite that Bridgewater became an average quarterback.

But 14 Touchdowns...

Bridgwaterer had intangibles that when harnessed, would succeed in an offense that is finally catered to his needs. To see a player who is not handicapped by an aging running back that can only run from one formation and cannot be a reliable pass cather. To witness a player have an offensive line that does not require him to be the most pressured quarterback in the league in 2015. To operate an offense that does not require him to take seven step drops, while having an edge rusher in the backfield on his fifth step.

But 14 Touchdowns...

What would Case Keenum have looked like behind talent so poor as it did in 2015? There was a glimpse of that in 2016 with the LA Rams, and he did not perform nearly as well as he did this year. He ranked 32nd in QBR, 31st in DVOA, and passed for 6.8 yards per attempt. If Keenum were to regress, it likely wouldn’t be as bad as his play in the past. The Vikings have built safeguards to allow for the offense to be relatively quarterback proof.

But 14 Touchdowns...

This is not a meant to sway those who are wholeheartedly embracing Keenum as the future of the Minnesota Vikings. There is plenty of those who still prefer Bridgewater, but will support any quarterback who plays for the team, a concept that is not mutual exclusive and can co-exist. This is simply to say that it is ok to still believe in Bridgewater, and that he does not have to be erased from your mind in order to support the team and current quarterback. At the end of the day the lasting memory for some will always be an average quarterback who threw for 14 TD’s, but consider where those 14 TD’s brought the Vikings, even if the end result was not the ultimate prize.