Jim Souhan Logo

Blog

Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan's rapid reaction: Credit Case Keenum, and Pat Shurmur's game plan

This is a quick blog post filed as the game ends; for my column please check startribune.com later today and pick up a paper in the morning.

Case Keenum played brilliantly on Sunday. Give him credit for bouncing back from a poor outing in Pittsburgh. Also: Give credit, also, to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who installed an aggressive game plan that Keenum turned into a big day in the Vikings' 34-17 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Shurmur could have played it safe with Keenum, a career backup, and developed the kind of short-passing attack that kept Sam Bradford healthy last season. Instead, the Vikings went after the Bucs' suspect secondary early and often, while also featuring Dalvin Cook as a runner and receiver.

What is becoming clear is that Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs may be one of the better receiving duos in the league. Diggs dropped one pass and almost got caught running into the end zone, but the two are proving they can run any route and make any catch, including those in traffic.

The Vikings are 2-1 despite having played two games without Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater. Losing at Pittsburgh could have been predicted regardless of the team's situation; Sunday's game was bigger. This was a home game against a conference opponent that is projected to be a playoff contender.

The Vikings not only beat them, they outclassed them.

I've been dubious of Keenum's value as a backup quarterback. I hated the way he handled pressure in Pittsburgh and believe a better quarterback would have had a chance to win that game. But Keenum was excellent on Sunday. He threw with anticipation and touch and moved well in the pocket, easily avoiding the Bucs' occasional pass rush.

Warning: Keenum has had big games before, and those big games previously didn't signal that he would become a worthwhile starter.

For Vikings fans, it was a game to enjoy, whether or not you wanted to read much into it.

----

Please check The Mix Sports Radio facebook page and MNSPN.com for podcasts with John Millea, Tim Yotter, Michael Russo, Roy Smalley and Jon Krawczynski.

@Souhanstrib

Minnesota Vikings prediction

I figured Bradford would light up the Saints' defense, and that Keenum would fail to handle playing Pittsburgh on the road.

Today's pick: Bucs 23, Vikings 19. The Vikings' defense keeps it close and Keenum plays slightly better but Jameis Winston makes enough plays downfield to win a tight one.

I think the Bucs' defense is good enough to limit the Vikings' running game, and if it does that, I don't see Keenum making enough plays to win.

-----------

Please check out Roy Smalley, Michael Russo, Tim Yotter, Jon Krawczynski, John Millea and myself on The Mix Sports Radio facebook page and/or MNSPN.com. We're building TheMixSportsRadio.com and an ap as well.

@Souhanstrib