Case Keenum turns 30 years old next month. He’s already won 20 of his 38 NFL starts, so Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday he isn’t too concerned about his quarterback’s lack of playoff experience.
“Obviously you would like to have a Hall of Fame quarterback playing for you,” Zimmer said. “I think the thing about all these guys [is] at one point in time [they] never had playoff experience, at one point in time. I think that part is important, but once you get into it, it doesn’t really matter on game day.
“The things we’ve done during the season offensively with the quarterback: taking care of the ball, throwing it to the right spot, getting us in the right checks, so on and so forth, are more important than playoff experience.”
Only six quarterbacks finished the 2017 regular season with a better passer rating than Keenum (98.3). Among them is the Saints’ Drew Brees, who put together one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career with an all-time best 72 percent completion, career-low 1.5 percent interception rate and the fourth-most passing yards (4,334) in the league.
So comparing playoff resumes isn’t a thing, since Keenum is just beginning his postseason cover letter.
When describing his confidence in Keenum, Zimmer went back to the line he first dropped in November after the Vikings’ 24-7 win against the Rams about Keenum’s, uh, big intestinal fortitude.
“He’s an excitable guy, but he’s always been excitable, so I don’t see that being much of a thing,” Zimmer said. “The thing I appreciate about him is, besides his big balls, is that he pays attention to detail. He studies. He works real hard in preparation and so I think all of those things come in to factor.”
“Playing within himself” was a point of emphasis for Keenum and the Vikings after he threw two second-half interceptions in a 38-30 win at Washington. He’s since thrown just two picks, both in the loss at Carolina.
Keenum’s first playoff start will invite new jitters, but Zimmer expects the home field to help.
“I do think playing at home is an advantage for a young, well I don’t know about young, but inexperienced quarterback,” Zimmer said.