Case Keenum has gone from zero to the Vikings hero. He had his Joe Flacco moment against the Saints and is going to be paid like it this offseason.
Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings took a page out of the Baltimore Ravens playbook. In desperation time down 24-23, Keenum hurled a prayer to Stefon Diggs and much like we saw in Denver six years ago, the impossible happened. Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams ducked his shoulder, completely whiffed on his target and Diggs ran untouched to the end zone for the touchdown.
The play was almost exactly like Joe Flacco’s “Mile High Miracle” touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones in the 2012 AFC Divisional Round. The touchdown eventually led the Ravens to an overtime win against the Broncos and an AFC Championship berth. From there, we know what happened. Flacco went on to have a miraculous postseason run and the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
But it’s not just the play that was eerily similar, it’s been Keenum’s entire run during the 2017 season. From a career backup to now the bonified starter, the 29-year is having one-year run like we haven’t seen much before.
And while this one season may be the only thing Keenum can point to on his resume, it doesn’t matter. As an unrestricted free agent, he’s going to get paid this offseason and he can thank Joe Flacco for that.
Obviously, there are differences between the two. Flacco was a first-round pick while Keenum went undrafted. Flacco came in with high expectations from the jump while Keenum wasn’t even guaranteed to make an NFL roster. But while the two may look different on paper, they reign similar when it comes to the quarterback market.
I’m going to say this here: I never was and will never be against Flacco’s contract. The Ravens chose to pay him in the moment and it’s what the market warranted, I can’t be mad at that. That being said, I can be mad at the results that have followed. Flacco has been a shell of himself the following five seasons, throwing 98 touchdowns to 74 interceptions. Those numbers certainly aren’t elite and the Ravens have made the playoffs just one time since winning the Super Bowl. Whether you are a Flacco apologist or not, we can all agree that he hasn’t played up to the money.
The Vikings are going to be put in a similar situation come the offseason. Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Keenum will all be free agents. Undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter will be the only quarterback left on the depth chart. Decisions will have to be made and given what Keenum has done, it’s going to be tough for general manager Rick Spielman to let him go. Keenum has led the Vikings this far and he’s earned a payday because of it, whether people like it or not.
Keenum won’t come cheap. Based on Spotrac’s projected market value, Keenum should make around $21.1 million next season. That would make him the league’s 12th highest paid quarterback next season. If the Vikings won’t overpay him, some other desperate team will. You can’t win in the NFL without a quarterback and teams will overpay to make sure they have that stability. Does a quarterback going on 30-years old with just one good season deserve that much? Probably not, but that’s how the market works.
Flacco had his one standout season and that’s what Keenum is doing now. By the start of next season, both will be getting paid a large sum of money that the majority of critics don’t believe they deserve.