Case Keenum will start against Browns. After that? Who knows.
LONDON — Case Keenum was officially tabbed the Vikings' starting quarterback on Friday, then headed out for afternoon tea.
It had been apparent all week that Keenum would start against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Oct. 29, at Twickenham Stadium, but head coach Mike Zimmer waited to make it official — even as starter Sam Bradford missed the entire week of practices because of his left knee injury.
"I heard it when you guys heard it," Keenum told reporters after practice at The Hazelwood Centre, training ground for the London Irish rugby team. "I prepare like I'm going to start each week."
Bradford will sit out for the sixth time in seven games. His only action since being hurt in the opener against New Orleans was half a game at Chicago, where he aggravated the knee and was replaced by Keenum in a 20-17 victory.
"Case is winning games," receiver Jarius Wright said. "Any time you've got a backup quarterback that can step up in place of a guy like Sam Bradford and get wins in the NFL, you can't say enough good things about that guy."
With the game plan in and a week of practice concluded, how did Keenum plan to spend some free time Friday afternoon?
"I think my wife has some tea planned for me,'' he said.
Also ruled out Sunday were guard Jeremiah Sirles and defensive end Stephen Weatherly. Both suffered knee injuries in last Sunday's 24-16 win over Baltimore.
Listed on the week's final injury report were receivers Stefon Diggs (groin, ankle) and Michael Floyd (hamstring), tackle Riley Reiff (knee), guard Nick Easton (calf) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (hip). Diggs, Reiff and Alexander were full participants in practice while Floyd and Easton were limited.
After missing two games, Diggs is expected to return against the Browns.
"He's a huge playmaker," Keenum said. "Any time you get a guy like that on the field, a guy who you never know what he's going to do when he gets the ball in his hands, it's exciting."
Easton and Reiff are also expected to play, giving the Vikings their entire starting offensive line. Easton missed the past two games, and Reiff was lost in the second half against the Ravens. Both worked with the first team Friday.
It remains be seen when Bradford might return; closer might be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who hasn't played since suffering a torn ACL and separated kneecap in August 2016. Bridgewater is on the physically unable to perform list, and the Vikings must decide by Nov. 8 whether to restore him to the 53-man roster or place him on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
If Bridgewater returns, there will be plenty of speculation about when he might start again.
"You know Teddy is my good friend, and of course I can't wait until he gets back, but you can't listen to what the fans are saying," Wright said.
Wright said he continues to be impressed with how Bridgewater has looked in practice. Owner Mark Wilf said having him back on the field is a great story.
"It's a fantastic feeling," Wilf said. "I know what this team feels about Teddy and what we feel about him and what our fan base does. But we're in a good situation here. Case Keenum has really stepped up and done an outstanding job.''
Keenum didn't do such a great job when he started for the Los Angeles Rams last October at Twickenham Stadium and threw four interceptions in a 17-10 loss to the New York Giants. Nevertheless, he loves the atmosphere there.
"Just walking in, you feel like a football star the way the fans are," Keenum said. "It's great. They're really excited about American football."
Right now, the Vikings are excited about Keenum.
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