Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings’ starting quarterback is decided for Sunday’s game against the Rams, but on Monday afternoon he declined to make an announcement before addressing his own team about the situation.
Zimmer did, however, have an early Monday morning conversation with the incumbent starter — Case Keenum — after the quarterback threw for a career-high four touchdown passes but also two interceptions Sunday in Washington, marking his fifth win for Minnesota.
“Talked to him a little bit this morning about understanding the situation of the game, where we’re at and sometimes a throwaway is a good thing,” Zimmer said. “You know, the two turnovers were bad. They were back-to-back. We’ve got the game pretty much in hand. The rest of the game, he played pretty darn good.”
Zimmer left the door open this week to name Teddy Bridgewater the starting quarterback, a scenario many at Winter Park feel is inevitable. The Vikings face a difficult decision of when to re-establish their potential franchise quarterback, Bridgewater, while trying not to interrupt the hot hand in Keenum, who is playing the best football of his journeyman career.
Keenum’s touchdown throws were juxtaposed by two head-scratching interceptions, which left a couple blemishes on an otherwise impressive day by the offense. The Vikings scored 35 points in 32 plays before Keenum turned over consecutive possessions.
Will Griffen be ready?
The Vikings ultimately sat defensive end Everson Griffen in Washington because they wanted to avoid making his foot injury more than a “one-week” concern, according to Zimmer. They’re expecting to get one of the NFL’s top pass rushers back Sunday.
Without Griffen, who leads the defense with 10 sacks, the Vikings pass rush wasn’t as productive. Redskins QB Kirk Cousins wasn’t sacked until his 50th and final dropback of the game. The Vikings did hit Cousins five times, including two apiece from Danielle Hunter and Tom Johnson.
“We hit the guy a lot,” Zimmer said. “We had some really good rushes against their good offensive linemen.”
Linebacker Eric Kendricks’ older brother, Mychal, is again making a difference for the NFC-leading Eagles. Philadelphia this week comes off a bye with an 8-1 record, the conference’s best, which has surely sparked a little back and forth.
The Vikings and Eagles aren’t scheduled to play each other in the regular season.
“After his last game we talked a little bit of [trash],” Eric Kendricks said, referring to Philadelphia’s 51-23 victory over Denver. “He was talking. He was excited about the win. He had a right to be, I guess. ”
Forbath doing it right
Kicker Kai Forbath made a subtle adjustment to his extra points earlier this season. Since the change, he’s made 15 of 16 attempts that have gone unblocked, including all five extra points Sunday.
Forbath is now kicking all extra points from the right hash mark of the field. He had been kicking them from the middle, where he missed 2 of 4 attempts to start the season.
“It’s a mind-set thing, more like a field goal,” Forbath said Monday. “That’s the way we’ve been looking at them lately, and it’s been helping.”
Don’t forget the TEs
The Vikings topped 100 rushing yards and, again, did not allow a sack on the quarterback Sunday. Credit the heart of the line, yes, but don’t overlook tight ends Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan.
“I thought that was the best blocking game [Morgan] has had,” Zimmer said. “Kyle, a year or so ago, I was on his rear end about being a more complete tight end, and he’s been doing a nice job blocking as well.”