With the discussions about starting Teddy Bridgewater taking place I wanted to take a look at Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings offence in this week’s amateur adventures in film.
I have to say that for me this was a game of two halves as the Vikings played more conservatively in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter where they were very much running out the clock and barely threw the ball.
However, focussing on Case Keenum it has to be said that in this game apart from two throws in the second half Keenum looked a very competent quarterback, but that is the word. It was not a case of the things he did leaping of the screen, but Keenum executing a well-designed offence. There was one occasion where tight end Kyle Rudolph had to wait for a ball to arrive on an out pattern in the first half and it was that kind of ball that caused Keenum’s second interception as DJ Swearinger leapt the route and intercepted the ball for the second time this game. For Swearinger’s first interception Keenum wasn’t able to step into his throw and sailed a ball over his receiver’s head and into the waiting arms of Swearinger. However, for a lot of the game Keenum was throwing to open receivers, with Adam Thielen particularly catching the eye with his route running.
It has to be said that both Thielen and Stefon Diggs impressed me with their all round game, not only with their route running but frequently being motioned near the offensive line and being asked to block on run and pass plays. The Vikings may have only just got over one hundred yards rushing for the game, but they looked very balanced in the first half, with left guard Nick Easton pulling and opening holes for Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. It was only in the second half when they were getting more conservative and running out the clock in the fourth quarter that the run game bogged down.
This was also the second week in a row where I saw the use of unbalanced lines, with the Vikings lining up several times with a tight end playing tackle on one end of the line so that the Vikings’ two tackles could line up next to each other on the opposite side. There were also several occasions where because receivers motioned towards the line on blocking plays, they were also able to run routes stacked or behind tight ends which helped scheme open plays. The tight ends also managed to block down then roll out to catch balls. All of this contributed to a scheme that made life very difficult for Washington in the first half.
It would seem harsh to drop Case Keenum given the record he has amassed with this team and given that Teddy Bridgewater has had very little practice time in the last two years. To my eyes this is an offence that is setup to succeed thanks to an improved line and a pair of receivers that are quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best pairings in the league. The quarterback situation is definitely muddy in Minnesota, but for once I don’t this is going to damage the team.