EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Two seasons ago, Case Keenum and Nick Foles shared a locker room.
On Sunday, the former teammates will face each other from opposite sidelines in the NFC Championship game, each intent on leading their team to Super Bowl LII.
Keenum and Foles have been starters prior to this season. But they've both also filled the backup role, including at the start of 2017.
While Keenum stepped in early, starting in Week 2 after Sam Bradford suffered a knee injury in the season opener, Foles has been the Eagles starting quarterback since Carson Wentz tore his ACL against the Rams in Week 14.
During Keenum's media session Wednesday, a reporter lightheartedly asked if he was aware of circulating flow charts illustrating the two quarterbacks' journeys to where they are now.
"No, I wasn't aware of a flow chart, but I know this is what all of you guys predicted back in the day, a Foles versus Keenum NFC Championship," Keenum quipped from the podium. "So good job to all you guys who predicted that."
Keenum and Foles both entered the NFL in 2012 – Foles as a third-round draft pick by the Eagles, and Keenum as a rookie free agent with the Texans. Since that time, both of their careers have had their shares of ups and downs.
Their paths crossed in the Rams quarterback room in St. Louis for the 2015 season.
Foles started the first nine games for the Rams, but Keenum was promoted from backup during a game in which the Rams went on to lose 37-13 to the Bears. Keenum started against the Ravens in Week 11 but suffered a concussion. After sitting out the next two weeks – during which Foles filled in – Keenum took over for the remaining four weeks, leading the Rams to three straight wins and a loss in overtime.
Foles told media members in Philadelphia Wednesday that it's "pretty wild" to now be preparing for the NFC Championship game against Keenum.
"We were on the same team not too many years ago," Foles said. "But that's why, and I've said over and over again, Case's success and the way he plays doesn't surprise me, because [he] and I were together. We prepared together, we were around each other every day.
"I think the big message there is, no matter what happens, you just have to keep believing in yourself, keep working hard and just never give up," Foles added.
In his first season in Purple, Keenum has impressed with his performance. He finished the regular season 325-of-481 passing for 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, resulting in a passer rating of 98.3.
Keenum led the Vikings to a 13-3 regular-season record and executed the final **“Minneapolis Miracle”** play to beat the Saints in the Divisional round and advance in the playoffs.
In three regular-season starts since Wentz was injured (he did not play the entire game in Week 17), Foles was 47-of-87 passing for 439 yards, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Against the Falcons last weekend, Foles threw for 246 yards and had a passer rating of 100.1 but did not complete any touchdown passes.
Keenum said the friends and former teammates have stayed in touch.
"We've talked during the season and have just kept up," Keenum said. "We watch the same film and similar defenses that we have played. So you watch their film and what they've done. We've talked some during the season.
"Nick is a great guy," Keenum said. "One of my best friends. A really, really solid guy. Great faith, great family … My wife and his wife are great friends. His entire family are good people. Great football player. Prepares well, extremely talented, big arm and he's really, really athletic, too. I know he's got a lot of confidence, and I'm looking forward to playing against him."
Foles and Keenum have both demonstrated high character both on and off the field and spoke highly of one another, but come Sunday, each will be looking to advance to the biggest stage in the NFL.
And while they no longer share the same team colors, Keenum and Foles share a high level of confidence in their abilities and their current roles as starting quarterbacks.
"I know, being around Case, he does an amazing job preparing and working and just being a great player," Foles said. "He's really done an amazing job; it doesn't surprise me. And that was my job stepping in for Carson, to lead this team.
"I think the big thing is, you just always have to believe, and you always have to prepare," Foles added.