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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Can Vikings' Keenum repeat his performance?

Case Keenum played brilliantly on Sunday. He threw accurately all over the field and stayed in the pocket much better than he did the previous week in Pittsburgh.

He did not look like a journeyman, which is what he has been.

So I looked up what he has done previously in his career following big games.

In 2013, he put together three excellent starts at the beginning of the season.

Game 1: 271 yards, 1 TD, 0 interceptions

Game 2: 350 yards, 3 TDs, 0 interceptions

Game 3: 201 yards, 3 TDs, 0 interceptions.

The making of a star, right?

In his next five games he threw for more than 169 yards only once while throwing a combined two touchdowns and six interceptions.

Last year, Keenum put up 321 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on Oct. 16. The next week he threw for 291 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

If there is a lesson here it is this:

Keenum has talent. He can get on a roll. What he hasn't done previously in his career is sustain success.


You can find all of our shows at The Mix Sports Radio Facebook Page and MNSPN.com, including SouhanUncensored, which will be released later today, and shows with VikingUpdate publisher Tim Yotter and MSHSL prep guru John Millea early in the week, and Michael Russo, Roy Smalley and Jon Krawczynski later in the week.


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.


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