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Keenum Inspired by Tarkenton's Words of Advice, Ability to Scramble

Posted Dec 6, 2017


EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Nobody is going to confuse Case Keenum with Fran Tarkenton anytime soon.

The Vikings current quarterback has been adept at moving around in the pocket, and sometimes taking off to pick up a first down.

The Vikings former quarterback, now a Pro Football Hall of Famer, racked up more than 3,600 career rushing yards and 32 career rushing touchdowns.

But Keenum, who has been quietly elusive this season, said there’s something to glean from all types of quarterbacks, including those known for scrambling.

“There’s always guys. Anytime you’re watching film, you’re learning from situations,” Keenum said. “Hey, what’s this situation, and what would I do in this situation?

“Things that go well, you try to imitate that. Things that don’t go well, you try to learn from that as well,” Keenum added. “There’s all sorts of quarterbacks, everybody out there that you watch you can learn something from.”

While Keenum hasn’t put up staggering rushing totals this season (he has 27 attempts for 102 yards and a 9-yard touchdown run), he’s done more than enough to stay clean in the pocket.

Keenum has been sacked just nine times in 11 games that he’s played in this season, a testament to how he has a good feel for the defenders.

“It’s a lot of things,” Keenum said when asked about how he eludes a pass rush. “Trying to not be where they are. Trying to get away.

“A lot of it is drill work that we’ve done on the practice field,” Keenum added. “But some of it just happens.”

Keenum’s next task will be against a Panthers defense that has amassed 34 total sacks this season, tied for fifth in the NFL.

Carolina defensive ends Julius Peppers and Mario Addison have 8.5 sacks apiece, and defensive tackle Kawaan Short has 4.0 sacks.

Keenum on Thursday was asked by the Twin Cities media if he preferred a team to rush because he has displayed such a keen pocket presence this season. 

The Texas native responded with some dry humor. 

“If they want to not rush, that’d be great,” Keenum quipped. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“Anybody we play, you look at their roster and it’s like, ‘Oh man, they have so and so. Oh man, they have Julius Peppers.’ Everybody is really good in this league and everybody has pass rushers, so I think we’re going to expect them to rush the passer pretty well,” Keenum added. “It’s something we have to work on and expect to get ready to get the ball out.”

If Keenum needs any extra advice, he could turn to Tarkenton, who led the Vikings to three Super Bowl appearances in four years in the mid-1970s.

Tarkenton, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986, spoke to the Vikings in Atlanta the night before their 14-9 win over the Falcons this past weekend.

Keenum said it was an honor to meet the Vikings Legend and that he just might incorporate some of Tarkenton’s skill set into his own game going forward.

“It was great. Obviously, he’s one of the best to play the position. But not only that, here for the Vikings and what he’s meant here to this organization,” Keenum said. “He’s awesome. I loved getting to know him, getting to meet him, talking to him. He had some great words of advice for the team, for us quarterbacks specifically, too. I’d love to put on some film of him this offseason and learn from that.

“I haven’t seen much of his film. There’s obviously some highlights, and you see pictures,” Keenum later added. “I want to go back and watch it at times. Who knows? Maybe learn some stuff from him?”