A month ago, I asked if Vikings QB Case Keenum was a top-10 NFL MVP candidate based on an ESPN midseason piece that looked at candidates. While Keenum wasn’t listed in the top 10 at the time, I argued that soon he could supplant those above him on the list.
Here we are a month later, with Keenum having played well during that stretch while others have faltered. He’s now No. 5 on that same updated ESPN list of NFL MVPs candidates, a list arrived at by asking 12 self-termed experts to compile their top five candidates and then ranking them according to a points system.
Tom Brady was the landslide winner, garnering 11 of 12 first place votes and 59 of a possible 60 points. Rams running back Todd Gurley was second with 27 points, followed by injured Eagles QB Carson Wentz (21), Saints QB Drew Brees (17) and Keenum (14).
Russell Wilson, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Jared Goff all had at least six points apiece.
This process is hardly scientific, but it confirms what most people would agree: With Wentz injured, Brady is almost a lock to win this year’s NFL MVP award.
I say almost because there are still two games left and, in the year of the injury, Brady needs to stay upright and productive to clinch this thing. As long as he does that, he’s going to win his third MVP award after also winning in 2007 and 2010.
And as long as Brady stays healthy, Keenum might not even get a single MVP vote.
The reason? The process used by the Associated Press to vote for NFL MVP leaves no room for anyone but the winner. There are 50 voters, and each of them chooses a single candidate. The player with the most votes wins — no tallying of first, second, third, etc. Just one.
If voters have to pick just one QB, they will pick a healthy Brady in a landslide. Keenum might not get a single vote.
Last year, only six players in total got votes — and MVP Matt Ryan got 25 of the 50, with Brady finishing a distant second with 10. Aaron Rodgers, who had a monster year for the Packers, managed just two votes.
I could envision Brady getting at least 40 votes this year as long as he stays healthy these final two games. Wentz might still get a few votes for his brilliance before the injury. Gurley will get a few from voters who think outside the QB box. There will be precious few votes left.
If the NFL had a voting system in which choosers picked their top five, I could see Keenum finishing pretty high on enough ballots to be a factor — though not a winner — in the race, particularly if he plays well in these final two games and Minnesota secures a first-round bye.
With the way the voting goes, though, I could see Keenum getting shut out entirely despite being a viable candidate in a remarkable year.