Rarely is it appropriate to talk about the Minnesota Vikings, but this is one of the few exceptions. After NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Vikings will not franchise tag Case Keenum, it was followed by quite a lot of buzz regarding who the next quarterback in Minnesota might be. Former starters Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are scheduled to hit the open market on March 14th. If not Keenum, it is highly unlikely Bradford or Bridgewater will return given their injury history. The initial thought is this decision may have been made to try and lure free agent Kirk Cousins to Minnesota on a long-term deal. A former Cowboys executive said there has been interest from both sides concerning the possibility of Cousins becoming a Viking.
This all comes as a major shock as Keenum was a breakout starter in 2017, leading the Vikings to a division title and NFC Championship game appearance.
Of course, he benefited from having the number one ranked defense behind his back. However, Keenum continued to make plays for an offense with very little to show as far as a run game. Making this move all the more surprising.
His 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs during the 2017 NFC Divisional Round vs New Orleans will go down as one of the best plays in franchise history. Keenum turned in his best statistical season to date with 22 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 67.6% completion percentage. The Vikings finished with a record of 13-3 and one game away from the Super Bowl.
It is not often that a guy who has had the success that Keenum did gets the boot, but when a quarterback like Kirk Cousins is available, sometimes a chance must be taken.
Cousins won’t lose you many games, but he also won’t ‘wow’ you with playmaking ability. He’s solid. He takes care of the ball and would benefit from having a top-10 defense as a safety net. Throwing to the likes of Diggs and Adam Thielen won’t hurt either.
Cousins could receive upwards of $30 million dollars annually on his next deal and the Vikings are one of the few teams that can afford it.
Cousins will set the bar for Aaron Rodgers who is looking to ink a new deal in the very near future. Rodgers has not expressed concern about rushing into it and may even play 2018 under his current contract. He may change his mind and decide he wants bragging rights if he ends up seeing Cousins twice a year.
The last time the Packers faced Cousins he gutted the secondary en route to a 42-24 win in which he threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.