Case Keenum Dazzles as Vikings Stomp Buccaneers

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The hate was thick on Case Keenum this week. It wasn’t meant in a negative light from most. It was just a frightened Minnesota fan base that was seeing another season slip through their fingers. This time, it seemed to be falling apart before it even got going.

And then there were those who were hating on Case directly.

Then, there were those who were calling for Colin Kapernick like so many have all year.

No matter your reason for hating on Case Keenum, you shouldn’t be hating anymore. Keenum ripped the Tampa Bay defense to shreds today. He finished the game going 25/33 for 369 yards and 3 TDs. Stefon Diggs was his most deadly target, by far. He finished the game with 8 reception, 173 yards, and 2 of Keenum’s 3 TD passes. It was a beautiful thing to watch.

But he wasn’t the only one who contributed. The offense was smoldering hot for most of the game and they kept the pedal to the metal. Thielen had another big week, bringing in 5 catches for 98 yards.

And we can’t say enough about Dalvin Cook. This guy is going to be special. Today, he ran, he caught, he ran after he caught, AND HE BLOCKED. He finished with a stat sheet that was quite impressive (27 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 72 yards). But it isn’t just the stat sheet where Dalvin shows up. He shows up to block and do the dirty work too. We aren’t used to that here, after dealing with Peterson for so long. He couldn’t block Helen Keller coming through the middle.

You can say what you want about Spielman but he got Diggs in the 5th round, Dalvin in the 2nd round, and Thielen was a practice squad guy. Spielman’s misses have been pretty bad with the likes of Christian Ponder and Matt Kalil, but his successful picks are the core of this team. And as they proved today, it’s a pretty good team. Sit back and enjoy some of Cook’s highlights.

And Cook continues to show the coaching staff that he is the running back they want on the field at all times. That includes passing plays where a running back needs to be a blocker.



And the defense. This is the best defense in the league when they come to play. They had pressure on Winston all day long, and the run game was non-existent, but the Vikings’ secondary is what stuck out. Xavier Rhodes shut down another top NFL wide-out today in Mike Evans. Evans put up 93 yards and a touchdown last week in Tampa’s only appearance this season. Last year he finished with 1321 yards and 12 touchdowns. It is safe to say he wouldn’t put up numbers like that if he had to face Xavier Rhodes every week. Today he was frustrated and it showed multiple times. He ended the day with 7 catches for 67 yards but was targeted a whopping 12 times. He reacted much like you have seen many of the WR who have been covered by Xavier in the last couple years.

Andrew Sendejo really stuck out today too. He had every TB wide receiver on notice. He was laying wood all over the field and he wasn’t taking any prisoners. He also snagged an INT out of the deal. He showed us why the Vikings didn’t have any competition at the safety spot during the preseason.

This game was never close. The Vikings ran away with it and had highlight after highlight. It was a fun game to watch if you are a Vikings’ fan. And we definitely are.

FINAL: Vikings WIN 34-17

We will now wait to see if Bradford will be able to go next week against the Lions at The Bank. If not though, I think we all feel better about Case Keenum taking over instead. The Lions lost today and the Packers are losing to the Bengals in the 4th quarter as I finish typing this. Either way, the Vikings will be tied for 1st place in the NFC North.

From Sam Bradford to Teddy Bridgewater to Case Keenum; from the new run game to the suffocating defense; this will be a fun season. And let’s not forget where the NFL season ends, no matter who the last two teams are…

 

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan

Photos: StarTribune, NPR News, Twitter: @Vikings

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