Vikings now must decide between Keenum and Bridgewater at QB
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — When Case Keenum sat down at his locker, Teddy Bridgewater flashed a smile and said he was talking trash about his fellow Vikings quarterback.
Bridgewater had nothing but glowing reviews of Keenum, who has led Minnesota on a five-game winning streak to sit atop the NFC North at 7-2. But now that Bridgewater is healthy and active 14½ months after a career-threatening knee injury, coach Mike Zimmer has a decision to make at the QB position.
He’s not ready to reveal anything just yet.
“I’ve got a plan, and we’ll just see how it goes,” Zimmer said. “Sometimes plans change but we’ll see how it goes. We’ll sit down this week and we’ll visit about it and kind of go from there.”
With the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams up next, the Vikings could stick with the status quo after Keenum threw touchdown passes to four different receivers in a 38-30 victory Sunday over the Washington Redskins. Bridgewater said a silent prayer to himself, let out a scream and cried during the national anthem in his first game in uniform since Jan. 10, 2016. Then he watched Keenum put on a solid performance with the four scores and two interceptions.
“He’s awesome,” Bridgewater said. “He’s the ultimate competitor, he fights hard. He has great energy. It’s what you want in a quarterback.”
If the Vikings were losing, the clouds of a QB controversy could hang over them. But there doesn’t seem to be any animosity between Keenum and Bridgewater.
“I’m a big fan of Teddy Bridgewater,” Keenum said. “I may have a Teddy Bridgewater jersey at home. He’s a great dude, great teammate.”
Wide receiver Adam Thielen heaped all sorts of praise on Keenum, who replaced injured veteran Sam Bradford as Minnesota’s starter and has thrived after a rough start. Thielen also thinks it’s a huge positive to have Bridgewater back, especially after the 25-year-old came back from a complete tear of the ACL in his left knee in August 2016.
“I knew if there was one person that was going to do it, it was going to be Teddy,” Thielen said. “It’s fun to see him just prepare. The way that he practices, he gets a lot of reps. It’s just fun to have him out there because he loves it.”
Some things learned in the Vikings’ 38-30 victory over the Redskins:
So much for building a little momentum. Now the Redskins (4-5) need to try to stay within shouting distance of the NFC playoff race, and they’ll have to beat a rising New Orleans Saints club to do it. Washington travels to New Orleans next weekend to face a host that is leading the NFC South at 7-2 thanks to a seven-game winning streak. The Redskins, meanwhile, haven’t won more than two in a row all season. “It seems like we’ve got this roller-coaster right now, where we’re up, down,” cornerback Josh Norman said.
Washington has to hope its defensive backs put on a better showing against Drew Brees and Co. than they did against Keenum. “We played trash in the secondary,” Norman said. “We really did.” The Redskins allowed completions of 51, 49 and 38 yards, as well as four TDs through the air. “We failed on the back end,” Norman said.
Thielen and Stefon Diggs give the Vikings quite a 1-2 punch — no matter who their QB is. Each caught a TD against the Redskins, and Thielen finished with eight catches for 166 yards, while Diggs finished with four receptions for 78 yards, including a tone-setter that went for 51 on Minnesota’s third play. Keenum loves throwing to Thielen, saying: “He continues to find ways to get open and make catches — and make catches even when he’s not open.”
GRIFFEN OUT: Despite DE Everson Griffen missing two practices with a foot injury, Zimmer thought he’d be able to play against the Redskins. Instead, he was a late scratch.
“We worked him out before the game and he just couldn’t push off at full speed,” said Zimmer. “The smart, prudent thing to do was to not play him because we didn’t want to lose him for more than one week.”
Griffen was the third player since the NFL began tracking sacks in 1982 to have one in each of his team’s first eight games of the season. He has 10.
AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich and freelance writer Bobby Bancroft contributed to this report.