Case Keenum has played well enough to be named the Vikings starter Dec. 3 in Atlanta, but coach Mike Zimmer stopped short of a further public commitment at quarterback.
“He’ll be the starter next week, yeah,” Zimmer said when asked Friday if the Vikings quarterback situation is still week-to-week.
Keenum has three straight games with a 100-plus passer rating. He’s accounted for eight touchdowns to just two turnovers in that span. The Vikings offense has churned out more than 400 yards in three consecutive games, a first since Brett Favre commanded the huddle.
The Vikings are 8-2 with Keenum at quarterback, including Thursday’s 30-23 win in Detroit.
“I thought Case played pretty well,” Zimmer said. “He made some big plays not only with his feet but with some of the throws he made. We protected well. The couple of sacks, kind of held the ball too long.”
Keenum was sacked twice for the first time since the last time the Vikings played the Lions on Oct. 1. The Vikings had allowed just one sack on Keenum in six games before Thursday, for which Zimmer has credited the improved offensive line play and Keenum’s eyes and athleticism.
“I think he’s got good vision,” Zimmer said. “He’s got some movement skills and used his legs on one of the third downs. He’s moving well in the pocket.”
Reasons to celebrate
If the Vikings continue their current red-zone hot streak (12 touchdowns in 12 possessions), they’ll need to start getting even more creative with their group celebrations. After Keenum’s 9-yard touchdown run against the Lions, the offense sat in a circle and mimed a Thanksgiving dinner. Receiver Stefon Diggs jumped in the middle with the football.
“I forgot the turkey, so I had to go get it,” Diggs said. “Just us being our usual little creative selves.”
Running back Latavius Murray, who had a season-long 46-yard run Thursday, likes the reputation the Vikings are getting.
“We’ve been deemed one of the better celebration teams, so why not keep it up?” Murray said.
Upon further review
After 17 penalties were accepted Thursday, the Vikings will be sending a few calls or no-calls to league headquarters for a review of what was questionable officiating of both teams. Generally, they can only send in 10 plays, according to Zimmer, but he might have more.
“They told me I can send as many as I want,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer later alluded to the officiating again when asked about struggles in the run game. Minnesota averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in Detroit.
“They were really crowding the line of scrimmage,” Zimmer said. “They were really crowding the line of scrimmage. Really, really crowding the line of scrimmage. I’ll leave it at that.”
Zimmer: Forbath ‘didn’t get an opportunity’
The Vikings field-goal operation left much to be desired after two kicks were blocked by the Lions. Zimmer isn’t putting that on kicker Kai Forbath, who missed two field-goal attempts last week against the Rams.
“We have to do better in that area,” Zimmer said. “I don’t really think it was the kicker. He really didn’t get an opportunity.”
Punter Ryan Quigley, the holder, said after the game he bobbled the snap on the blocked 53-yard field goal. The blocked extra point came from pressure up the middle with Forbath claiming the Lions got away with illegally hitting long snapper Kevin McDermott.
Simple as that, huh?
Defensive end Danielle Hunter was thankful for the Vikings’ easiest takeaway of the season when Lions running back Ameer Abdullah dropped a handoff from Matthew Stafford.
“I just saw the ball on the ground,” Hunter said. “I dove on it.”