For everything Case Keenum's done so well, like his three to one touchdown to interception ratio, he's still regarded by most as less than a top tier quarterback. The Saints will tell you otherwise.
“He's just a talented guy that can make the throws,” says linebacker Craig Robertson. “He's been that way since he was in college throwing for yards out of the sky, throwing everything he wanted to throw.”
Completing 68 percent of his passes, second in the league only to Drew Brees, that number tells you that Keenum knows how to involve his running backs and tight ends, very similar to Sam Bradford. But that's where most of their shared traits end.
“I wouldn't say that two players are similar,” says linebacker Manti Te’o. “I think, talking about Keenum, he's just a good manager of the game. He manages the game, the tempo, the offense.”
Keenum’s feel for the game, the Vikings offense and his ability to get them into the right play means the Saints will have to play smart and do more than just chase him out of the pocket to get Keenum uncomfortable.
“You can disrupt in many ways,” says Te’o. “Not just pressure, but the down and distance, having a lot of success on early downs and stuff like that and executing early. So you're not put in those situations where he can get comfortable and sit in the pocket and get into their groove.”
He’s not known as a scrambler or big play-maker with his legs like Cam Newton, but Keenum is actually more similar to Brees the way he moves around the pocket to find a throwing lane and get the ball down field.
“He can get out of tough situations better,” says Saints Pro Bowl corner Marshon Lattimore. “Like I said, we just have to stay locked in to our guy.”
And that’s the other half of the equation. The Vikings' elite targets at receiver, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, make their passing attack that much tougher to defend. It will take great play from more than just one corner or one pass rusher for the black and gold to be successful against Keenum on Sunday.