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Lunchbreak: Keenum Had ESPN's 2nd-Highest Total QBR in 2017

Quarterbacks can be measured by any number of statistics, whether it's wins, passing yards, completion percentage, interceptions thrown or passer rating.

ESPN computes a metric called Total Quarterback Rating (Total QBR) that showcases how players at the position impact the game.

ESPN writer Seth Walder recently compiled the 2017 numbers for Total QBR and found that Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had the second-highest mark at 69.8.

Walder wrote:

Case Keenum — and oft-overlooked quarterback — proved he was capable of an oft-overlooked skill in 2017: not getting sacked. Despite being blitzed at the second-highest rate in the league and pressured at the seventh-highest rate among qualifying starters, Keenum was sacked at the sixth-lowest rate in the NFL. It turned out that when he was blitzed and under pressure, he and the Vikings' offense did a pretty good job of making positive plays anyway. That, combined with Keenum's propensity for staying upright with the ball in his hand, is why he led the league in QBR when blitzed and when under duress.

Keenum finished the season 11-3 as a starter and helped the Vikings win another game by entering just before halftime at Chicago. The Vikings quarterback finished his first season in Minnesota by throwing for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Keenum also posted a passer rating of 98.3, which was the seventh-best in the NFL. He had eight games in which he had a rating of 100 or better.

Smith led all NFL players in PFF grades

Add another reason why Harrison Smith is one of the best all-around defensive players in the NFL.

The Vikings safety, who was not selected to the Pro Bowl, had his 2017 season graded out at 98.9 by the analytics site Pro Football Focus. That rating is the highest of any player in the NFL this season, and that highest mark the site has ever given to a safety.

Matthew Coller of ESPN1500.com took a look at Smith's PFF grade and noted what made him so effective this season.

Coller wrote:

Against Harrison Smith this year, opposing quarterbacks had a 22.0 quarterback rating. He sacked and pressured QBs, blew up run plays, snuffed out screens and made key interceptions. It was a performance worthy of comparison to Troy Polamalu in his prime. Safety is one of the hardest positions to evaluate with the boxscore and sometimes even TV doesn't show everything the best safeties do. In this case, PFF's grading system shows us that Smith is not only a worthy Pro Bowler, but has a good argument for Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith tied his career high with five interceptions this season and helped the Vikings produce a dominant season on defense.

Minnesota ranked first in points allowed (15.8), the first time it had done so since 1970. The Vikings also allowed the fewest yards per game (275.9), the team's best mark since 1993.

Minnesota's highest-graded offensive player by PFF was tight end David Morgan, whose grade of 79.4 ranked seventh out of 74 tight ends.

Coller wrote:

If there is an award for the most underrated key player on the Vikings team, Morgan would win going away. Without a clear No. 3 receiver, Pat Shurmur turned to Morgan and he performed at an extremely high level in run blocking. The 2016 sixth-round pick ranked fourth at his position in run blocking grade and proved along the way that he can be a receiving option too. He may look like a tank, but Morgan caught 10 of 12 passes thrown his way, including three catches on three third down targets that all resulted in first downs.

Morgan had 10 catches for 95 yards and a score this season, and his blocking helped the Vikings offense rank seventh with 122.3 yards per game.

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