Say what you will about the absence of star power among most of the quarterbacks in Sunday’s conference championship games.
For Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, there aren’t enough good things he can say about his quarterback, Case Keenum.
‘He’s definitely an exciting story, just because of the way that he attacks his job’
Based on what he witnesses from being around Keenum on a regular basis, he isn’t the least bit surprised that Keenum’s efforts have gone a long way toward helping the Vikings reach Sunday’s NFC title game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“He’s definitely an exciting story, just because of the way that he attacks his job,” Keenum told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains. “There are not too many guys that prepare the way that he does. It is sometimes clichéd to talk about a quarterback to say how well they prepare, but he’s on a different level. The amount of time he puts into it, the way he does it, how scheduled out it is and how thorough it is and then translating to us as receivers and we really talking to us about what he’s saying and how he wants certain things. It really is impressive.”
‘All you can ask for as a quarterback is a guy who, they’re going to give you an opportunity and trust you to be in the right spot’
So, too, is Keenum’s ability to extend plays with his feet. He has a tremendous knack for buying time and finding open targets when he does, which is largely something he does by feel.
“A lot of times, he’ll be like, ‘Man, I didn’t even see you, I just knew you were going to get open and I gave you and opportunity,'” Thielen said. “That’s pretty cool to hear as a receiver because that’s all you can ask for. All you can ask for as a quarterback is a guy who, they’re going to give you an opportunity and trust you to be in the right spot.”
‘I think every practice, every game, every rep, there’s a lot of communication that’s being had between us’
But none of the success the Vikings have in their passing game is by accident. It results from a great deal of communication between Keenum and his receivers.
“It’s an on-going thing, honestly,” Thielen said. “I think every practice, every game, every rep, there’s a lot of communication that’s being had between us as receivers and Case. And I think that’s what made him so good and what’s helped our chemistry so much is we’re not afraid to talk. We’re not afraid to say, ‘Hey, I’d rather do this.’ Or, ‘Hey, ‘I like this ball better.’
‘Sometimes he has been taught a certain way to where to position a ball depending on what coverage he gets or where the defender is’
“And it goes both ways. Sometimes he has been taught a certain way to where to position a ball depending on what coverage he gets or where the defender is. Sometimes as receivers, that’s a really hard ball or something like that. So we kind of come back to him and be like, ‘Hey, I’d rather you put it here because it’s a lot easier for me to catch.’ Every day something kind of pops up and … that’s a great example of, ‘Hey, we need to work on that, we need to talk about that, because if it happens in a game, I think it definitely helps.'”