News reported Monday by NFL Media indicating the Vikings aren’t planning to use the franchise tag on QB Case Keenum tells us only one thing definitively: The Vikings aren’t interested in having Keenum for one season at $24 million.
In some ways, this isn’t terribly surprising. Keenum is coming off a career year and the offensive coordinator credited with tailoring a system to aid Keenum’s success is no longer in Minnesota. That’s a lot of money and a lot of trust for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, and it doesn’t solve any long-term questions.
Then again, it’s surprising in other ways. Keenum did lead the Vikings to the NFC title game. More than that, slapping the franchise tag on Keenum was the one sure thing the Vikings had in a very complicated, muddy offseason QB picture. If they wanted him, they could have him at a defined term and price.
As it is now, they still have options. But the Vikings would appear to have no guarantees. But maybe — just maybe — this news about Keenum alsotells us something about two other quarterbacks: Teddy Bridgewater and Kirk Cousins.
We discussed that on Monday’s Access Vikings podcast (which was delayed by, you guessed it, the Keenum news, but is now available for listening and downloading).
1) The Vikings wouldn’t have made this decision about Keenum so soon (they have until March 6 to decide on tags) if they didn’t feel like they have at least a reasonable chance of pursuing and landing Cousins when free agency starts March 14.
2) The Vikings believe they can sign Bridgewater to a make-good discount free agent deal if his contract does not toll — which appears to be the case per Tuesday’s reporting. Remember, for several weeks in 2017 it sounded like Mike Zimmer was itching to play Bridgewater instead of Keenum, and Teddy at Case at $24 million vs. Teddy at far less could be a compelling argument.
These are just theories, mind you — thought exercises during the relative February calm before the March storm.