Since it’s been about fifteen minutes. . .heck, maybe even half an hour or so. . .since we argued about the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation, let’s take another opportunity to do that now, shall we?
Behind the great E$PN paywall, one of their topics of debate this week among some of their insiders is who they feel will be the quarterback of the Vikings in 2018. Of the five experts they polled on the subject, four of them feel that the Vikings will go with Teddy Bridgewater behind center in 2018, while one of them goes with Case Keenum instead. None of the experts seem to think that Sam Bradford is a part of the Vikings’ long-term plans. (Frankly, neither do I.)
The one expert that sided with Keenum was Domonique Foxworth, a former NFL player and current writer for The Undefeated. Here’s why he feels that the Vikings go with Keenum over Bridgewater:
Keenum is my guess. But I am not confident. Both Keenum and Bridgewater will be free agents in 2018, so it'll be an interesting offseason in Minnesota. I'm betting that Keenum will be able to sustain this high level of production for the rest of the season, and I can't imagine a franchise moving on from a proven option at the most important position.
I can understand the thinking behind Foxworth’s argument. As much as the Vikings want to get Bridgewater into some real-time action, they’re not going to be able to do it as long as Keenum maintains his level of play. If he can do that and keep Bridgewater off of the field, it will have been two full seasons since Bridgewater saw any action in a game that meant anything. Keenum is having his best season, and it’s not as though he’s some sort of Ryan Fitzpatrick/Josh McCown career journeyman type that is trying to hold on. He’s 29 years old, which is significantly older than Bridgewater, but not old old, you know?
ESPN senior NFL writer Mike Sando feels. . .correctly, in my opinion. . .that the status of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will play a role in this.
Bridgewater is my tentative choice, but there are interesting dynamics to consider. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur appears to be in line for a head-coaching job. If Shurmur stays, Keenum could be more likely to return as the starter, unless Keenum falls off sharply down the stretch. Under that scenario, the team could draft its quarterback of the future while sticking with Keenum in the meantime. If Shurmur leaves, the team could be more likely to fall back on Bridgewater, with Keenum leaving in free agency.
I think Sando is partially right. I think that if Shurmur were to leave Minnesota for another head coaching gig that Keenum would be a good candidate to follow him. Most of the teams that will have head coaching vacancies will also have questions at quarterback next season, and with Keenum having had his best success under Shurmur, I think he’d be inclined to move along with him. On the other hand, if Shurmur were to stay, I think Keenum would, too.
Of course, this depends on what Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman want to do, too. Zimmer has made no secret about how much he likes Teddy Bridgewater, and I think if there were to be an open competition between the two of them from the start of Training Camp in 2018, the team would probably favor Bridgewater over Keenum for a number of reasons.
In any case, it’s an interesting look ahead to 2018, and goodness knows that we’re certainly not done debating the whole thing here.