I can’t stop thinking about the Vikings quarterback situation, and it appears that a lot of you feel the same way.
Mike Zimmer had the opportunity to stop imaginations from running wild on Monday, but instead he said that he hasn’t named a starting quarterback for Sunday’s showdown between the 7-2 Vikings and 7-2 Rams. He knows what he wants to do, but he’s going to talk to the team first before revealing to the world whether Case Keenum keeps the job or Teddy Bridgewater takes over.
Signs point toward a coach itching to make a change. I’m not sure that’s the right decision, but Zimmer is paid to make those decisions with far more information than what I have.
Rather than try to break down what is right and what is wrong, let’s think instead for a minute about this decision in terms of a couple of non-football sports analogies. As strange as it sounds, I think this comparison gets to the heart of the question.
Here we go. Should we view Keenum more like 1) A pitcher in baseball who has exceeded expectations in an important game but whose track record suggests leaving him in to keep pitching could result in bad things happening. Or 2) A hot NHL goalie whose track record doesn’t suggest much in the way of sustained success but who nevertheless has earned every opportunity to keep trying to contribute at a high level.
If you view Keenum in the first light, it would suggest you think the Vikings have gotten all they could reasonably expect out of him and they should quit while they’re ahead. It means you think that even with all of his deserved accolades this season, you fear he could falter at any moment and you would rather “sell high” than expose that risk. It means you would prefer the alternative — Bridgewater, the relief pitcher in this analogy — because you think this is the right time for a switch and Bridgewater gives the team the best chance for long-term success even though things are going well right now.
If you view Keenum in the second light, you believe Keenum — who had bad career numbers with bad teams coming into the season — deserves the chance to keep playing even if his production so far is a surprise. The way he’s playing right now reminds me of a hot streak from a backup goalie. You don’t know how long it’s going to last, but do you really want to cut it short? Keenum has the third-highest Total QBR of any passer in the NFL right now. However flawed that metric is — and it raises eyebrows that Keenum’s effort against Washington is the second-best single game of any QB all season — you can build an argument that he’s been among the top third of QBs in the league this season when he’s played. He’s done more than just not mess up in directing a five-game winning streak.
By about a 2-to-1 margin (as of the time of posting this item), those of you who voted in my Twitter poll see Keenum more in the “hot goalie” light than the “pitcher almost out of gas” light.
We’ll see what Zimmer thinks in a couple of days.