The Minnesota Vikings dominated the 2017 season, winning 13 games and locking up the number two seed in the NFC. Their defense is elite, led by several gifted pass rushers, athletic linebackers, and the NFL’s best safety, Harrison Smith. However, their offense wasn’t bad either. They were 11th in the NFL, averaging 24 points per game and dominating time of possession. So what’s the problem? Well… there can only be one quarterback, but the Vikings have three.
How to Resolve the Quarterback Dilemma in Minnesota
The Case for Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater’s NFL journey so far has been a bizarre one. He was a first round pick back in 2014, in between Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr, and his career has been full of ups and downs. He wasn’t given the job right away, and only became Minnesota’s starter when Matt Cassel struggled.
He came in, and honestly, didn’t play a huge role. He helped bring stability to the offense, but his numbers weren’t incredibly impressive. He threw for less than 3,000 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, but he did everything the team asked of them.
The following year, his numbers didn’t really improve, but the Vikings did. They went 11-5, and the Vikings made a deep push into the post-season, only losing on a wild missed field goal against the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately for Bridgewater, he missed the next two seasons after he suffered a non-contract injury by planting wrong in practice, dislocating his knee, tearing his ACL, and structural damage.
The case for Teddy Bridgewater is as follows. He’s a good young quarterback. He’s accurate and makes good decisions. It’s hard to be blown away by his numbers, but they shouldn’t be held against him either. He did exactly what his team asked him to do, and the administration obviously believed in him if they took him with a first round pick.
The Case for Sam Bradford
When Bridgewater went down, the Minnesota Vikings had no idea of knowing how serious the injury would be, so being safe, they traded a first round pick to the Phildelphia Eagles for battled veteran quarterback, Sam Bradford.
After being the first overall pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010, Bradford’s career got off to an iffy start. He tried to carry a bad Rams team and failed as a rookie, and then the injuries set in. During his four years in St. Louis, he only played in all 16 games once after his rookie season, and he just never got comfortable.
In 2015, he was involved in a trade that swapped him for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles, along with a few other picks. He had one adequate season with the Eagles before Bridgewater’s injury got him traded to the Vikings, where he’s been ever since.
In 2016, he had argubly the best season of his career as a member of the Vikings. He completed 70% of his passes for a career-high 3,877 yards and the best touchdown to interception ratio of his career, scoring 20 touchdowns while only being intercepted five times. He was off to an even better start in 2017 before he succumbed to injuries of his own, losing the job to Case Keenum.
The case for Bradford is a lazy one. He’ll be the cheapest of the three quarterbacks to keep, and while he’s never going to win a passing title, he’s very reliable. If the Vikings aren’t completely sold on Keenum or Bridgewater, and they get too expensive, Bradford would be the easiest and cheapest passer to keep.
The “Case for Case” Keenum
Case Keenum is the wildest of Minnesota’s quarterback options. He’s already 29 years old, but 2017 was easily the best season of his career. A career backup who nearly had more interceptions than touchdowns coming into this season, nobody expecting Keenum to be the guy who led the Vikings deep into the post-season, but that’s exactly what he did. His 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns are easily career bests, and he’s transformed the Vikings offense.
Keenum didn’t have Adrian Peterson to lean on, but he was able to elevate the receivers around him. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs both had one of the best years of their careers, and the Vikings offense was able to endure multiple losses at the tailback position. Go back and watch that throw from the end of the Vikings/Saints game and tell me that guy doesn’t deserve to start next year.
The case for Case is a strange one. Keenum is the hot hand, and helped elevate this Minnesota Vikings offense to levels nobody could’ve seen coming. If he turns around and helps this team win a Super Bowl, can you really afford to let him leave? Bridgewater has potential, but he has yet to really show it. Bradford is reliable, but he’s never going to set the NFL on fire. Keenum might be the best quarterback, with the brightest future of all three men. Depending how the rest of this post-season goes, the Vikings might not have a choice.