What if Teddy Bridgewater had thrown four touchown passes and led a clock-eating seven-minute drive in the fourth quarter of the Vikings' 38-30 victory over Washington on Sunday? Chances are there would be cartwheels turned, confetti thrown and abounding optimism about the future of the team's quarterbacking position -- even if he threw two interceptions as part of his day's work.
When Case Keenum put up those numbers on Sunday, it felt like some people were grabbing on to the interceptions to diminish Keenum's performance, which included 21 completions in 29 attempts, 304 passing yards and a 117.0 quarterbacking rating.
Some of the reaction begs the questions of whether fans are being overly critical of Keenum, and how much of that is provoked by the desire to see what Bridgewater can do at quarterback after the knee injury that kept him sidelined for 1 1/2 seasons.
Some of the reaction is also provoked by coach Mike Zimmer's contention that, at some point, Bridgewater will see time at quarterback for the Vikings. Zimmer has been unsurprisingly coy about when that could happen, although it would likely come down to one of three scenarios:
1. Keenum gets hurt; 2. The Vikings are so far ahead or so far out of a game that it makes sense to give Bridgewater a look; 3. Week 16 of 17 of the regular season if the Vikings have clinched a spot in the playoffs (or suffered some kind of mind-numbing collapse during which Zimmer has stuck with Keenum).
Here are some of the responses when I posed these questions on Twitter:
Yes— Chris Cloutier (@daklute) November 13, 2017
A little. But both interceptions were really, really ugly and Case has thrown many other passes that weren’t picked but should have been which aids his perception.— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) November 13, 2017
Case is QB1 and has entirely earned that position. The two INTs were bad, but I truly don't think that Teddy would be doing any better after not having played for about 22 months. Teddy is an inspiration and a fan favorite, but we simply don't need him right now— Melissa Berman (@Melissa_Berman) November 13, 2017
The first was a horrible decision to throw. Second was a great read by the D. But the ball should have stayed on the ground for the most part, imo.— Kyle (@kylerulz4h) November 13, 2017
Not me. I want to win games. I’m sure the coaches have already addressed their concerns to Case. The 5 TD drives were pretty darn impressive to me— Roger Hanover (@wyoming_roger) November 13, 2017
Completely. How else can you describe the reaction where the team goes into Washington, a place where they've historically struggled, put up 38 points and win the game and everyone wants to bench the quarterback after the game?— Matthew Krier (@matthewkrier) November 13, 2017
Absolutely correct they want Teddy as starter. They only see Case as stopgap. It doesnt help when Zim fuels the fire...wont commit to Case.— Craig Baglien (@csbaglien) November 13, 2017
Here's a back-and-forth between a couple of respondents:
having a hard time understanding why so many fans seem ready to move on from Case. he's been really good! better than Teddy in '15— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 13, 2017
Case could easily turn back into a pumpkin at midnight and Vikings fans wanna see their extremely likable one-time-franchise-qb-in-the-making complete his improbable return from injury. so i get it.— Mike Zanatta (@Mike_Zanatta) November 13, 2017
i get that too, but think it makes little sense to replace case until he gives you a reason to. the 2 picks he threw yesterday aren't enough when evaluated in the context of how well he played otherwise— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 13, 2017
Oh I agree. You have to roll with him. But I get the clamoring.— Mike Zanatta (@Mike_Zanatta) November 13, 2017
A few more follow-up questions come to mind:
Have the Vikings gotten the best they're going to get from Keenum -- and does that mean a Bridgewater takeover is the best bet for a serious playoff run?
How patient should Vikings fans be with Bridgewater when he returns? How patient will they be?
Are we still getting a bit ahead of ourselves by thinking of the Vikings, even with a 7-2 record, as serious Super Bowl contenders? If so, when will you be convinced?
Feel free to take aim at any of these in the comments below.