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Why won’t Mike Zimmer anoint Case Keenum as the starter?

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball against Anthony Zettel #69 of the Detroit Lions and Tahir Whitehead #59 for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field on November 23, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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With each win, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum looks more and more like the real deal. On Thursday, the guy operating under a one-year, $1 million deal outplayed the highest-paid player in league history.

And while coach Mike Zimmer allowed himself to praise Keenum more effusively than Zimmer has to date, Zimmer still hasn’t declared Keenum to be the unquestioned starter.

So why won’t he? The official PFT theory is that Zimmer, who once worked for Bill Parcells and still relies on him for advice, deliberately is keeping Keenum in limbo, because Zimmer believes that Keenum plays better when he thinks he’s on a short leash. Plenty of quarterbacks don’t; Keenum unquestionably does.

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph visited Friday’s PFT Live, and I ran this theory by him. Rudolph didn’t dismiss it.

“Well, that’s one of Coach Zim’s styles,” Rudolph said. “You know, he does that, not only with Case but with everyone on our team. He truly believes that we play better as a team when we have that chip on our shoulder, when we have that edge. When people are against us, when people count us out. So I wouldn’t be surprised if your theory is correct.”

For much more from Rudolph, check out Friday’s PFT Live at Apple Podcasts, where you should subscribe to the show, rate it, and review it.