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Keenum makes case as Vikings starting QB
Head coach Mike Zimmer decided not to prolong the charade that he might change quarterbacks during a five-game win streak that has the Minnesota Vikings sitting two games clear of the Packers and Lions in the NFC North.
Asked Wednesday who his starting quarterback will be for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium, Zimmer simply said two words: "Case Keenum."
Not Teddy Bridgewater, who is healthy enough to play after being sidelined since suffering that horrific knee injury a week before the 2016 season.
After Zimmer spoke, Keenum, who went 4-5 as the Rams' starter a year ago, had fun with the announcement when he met with reporters.
"Just like everybody predicted," he said. "Case Keenum with the 7-2 Minnesota Vikings going up against the 7-2 Rams" in the NFL's marquee matchup of Week 11.
Keenum started the Rams' first nine games a year ago. But then pressure from the front office forced then-head coach Jeff Fisher to start rookie No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff. Goff finished the season 0-7, but has been reborn under 31-year-old first-year head coach Sean McVay and an offensive line that's been overhauled with Andrew Whitworth at left tackle and former Viking John Sullivan at center.
The result is an offense that's gone from worst to first in scoring and is averaging 32.9 points per game - the same exact average of the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf team that won the Super Bowl during the 1999 season.
"They're really efficient at what they do," Zimmer said. "They line up, they run a lot of the same plays. Different formations, same plays. They'll run them over and over and over and over. They're good at it. You get better at what you do."
Defensively, the Rams have five former first-round draft picks in their front seven, and one of the best defensive coordinators of this era in 70-year-old Wade Phillips. Having allowed just 41 points in the past four games, the Rams now rank third in points allowed (18.0).
"Wade likes to bring pressure and get after the quarterback," Zimmer said. "They're very good at what they do."
The Vikings are 2 1/2-point favorites because of the home-field advantage. But the Rams are 5-0 in games outside of Los Angeles.
All games are important, but the mood around the Vikings could change significantly if they don't take care of this home game.
Yes, they're sitting comfortably with the NFC's No. 2 seed. But a loss would send them reeling a bit into a stretch of three straight road games at Detroit on Thanksgiving, Atlanta and Carolina.
SERIES HISTORY: 38th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 21-14-2. The Vikings are 11-3-2 at home, but this is the first meeting at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings have won the last four meetings, including a 21-18 overtime game at TCF Bank Stadium in 2015. The teams have met seven times in the playoffs, but not since 1999, when the Rams won a 49-37 divisional meeting at St. Louis. The Vikings are 4-0 in home playoff games against the Rams. They advanced to Super Bowls IX and XI by beating the Rams at old Met Stadium.