At times last year, the Vikings seemed ambivalent about quarterback Case Keenum. The Broncos definitely don’t.
After two seasons (arguably three) of subpar quarterback play and quarterback competitions that kept the winner from thriving as much as he could, the Broncos are all in with Keenum. And the players are, too.
“He’s a great leader,” receiver Emmanuel Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. “Every day -- the majority of the days -- he’ll come in and ask me and [Demaryius Thomas] to go and watch practices and we’ll sit in the back room and watch film and go over what he’s thinking and what we’re thinking. I’ve been a part of two Super Bowl teams, and that’s what it takes. That extra work that’s not mandatory, where guys are in there working out or working on their mental game. That right there, when it’s fourth quarter or when it’s fourth and five or third and eight. That’s the stuff that gets you over the hill.”
Tackle Garrett Bolles notices the impact of Keenum, too.
“I’m grateful we have Case here,” Bolles recently told reporters. “I think he brings a demeanor here. That season he had in Minnesota was not a fluke thing. It was 100 percent who he is. A man that has been benched and moved around multiple times and still fought his way to the top and took his team as far as he did. That’s a big picture in my eyes. When we brought him in I had to do my research and understand what kind of man he is. . . . Knowing that everything he does -- he’s collected, he gets in that huddle ,and he demands. But he showed us in the offseason, before we even started OTAs. He’s bringing us along, we’re doing outings together, hockey games and all those things. He’s taking control. . . . We all get together and understand each other. Because that’s what a team is, understanding each other. If we understand each other then we get on the field, it’s easy.”
Maybe the Vikings didn’t fully understand what they had with Keenum. Or maybe they thought he could only take a team so far. Regardless, both the Broncos and the Vikings will be paying close attention to what Keenum accomplishes in Denver, and Vikings fans will be comparing what Keenum does in Denver to what Kirk Cousins does in Minnesota.