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NOTEBOOK: Vikings QB Keenum Keeping Consistent Mindset

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford was a limited participant in Thursday's practice, but his status for Monday's game in Chicago is still up in the air.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer offered a quick assessment of whether or not Bradford will be ready to go against the Bears on Monday Night Football.

If Bradford does not play, quarterback Case Keenum would get the nod for the fourth straight week.

Keenum, who is 1-2 as a starter, has thrown for 755 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 61 percent of his passes. His passer rating is 94.4.

The offseason free agent signing has 27 career starts and said Thursday that he is mentally preparing to go against the Bears.

"Like I've answered the same question every week, that's my mindset, that I'm going to start, so whether I am or not, that's how I prepare," Keenum said. "That doesn't change, whatever week it is, whoever we're playing and whenever we're playing.

"If you guys keep asking, it's kind of a distraction. No, it's not a distraction," Keenum said with a laugh. "It is what it is. That's part of the job, so I'm going to keep preparing and answering the question the same way. That's just how I am, how I operate, and I try to be the same guy no matter what. That's my goal as a quarterback and my goal as a person."

Keenum noted that no matter who starts at quarterback for Minnesota, the Vikings have to clean up the finer details that hampered them in a 14-7 loss to Detroit this past Sunday.

The Vikings lost three fumbles, only converted three of 10 third-down tries and scored their lowest point total of the season.

"Just being smart with the football and better in crucial situations, whether it's third downs, third downs in the red zone, the two minute, we've got to be better in those situations to win ball games," Keenum said.

Rudolph's role in passing game

One season after recording career highs of 83 receptions, 840 yards and 132 targets, Kyle Rudolph has been targeted 15 times through four games. 

Rudolph enters Week 5 with 10 receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown, but his impact has been felt within the Vikings offense.

The tight end has helped more with Minnesota's pass protection this season, and his work has helped Stefon Diggs (391 yards) and Adam Thielen (358) rank first and third, respectively, in the NFL in receiving yards.

"There's a lot of things that go into targeting the tight end in the pass game. We talk about it all of the time," Rudolph said. "I've been called upon a lot in protection, trying to keep those guys on their feet, and then some things, we just haven't hit them. It's a long season. The targets and the receptions will play themselves out. There will be games where I have one or two, and there will be games where I have eight or 10. It's a 16-game season."

Last season, the Vikings allowed sacks at a rate of 6.1 percent per pass play. This year, however, Minnesota's sacks allowed percentage is 3.6, which is the fifth-best mark in the league. 

"It's been awesome. If you look at our two games where we've had a ton of success on offense, the quarterback is able to stand back there and we have guys who make plays and guys on the outside that can win," Rudolph said. "When we give the quarterback time, he can make plays and hit those guys."

A Crucial Catch Challenge

Rudolph on Thursday announced another role he's readily accepting, which is to raise funds for the American Cancer Society through the NFL's Crucial Catch Challenge. To help, visit pledgeit.org/kyle-rudolph.

Treadwell welcomes Floyd's return

Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd practiced for the first time this season after being suspended for the opening four games of the season.

Floyd's return was a welcome sight, especially for fellow wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

The 2016 first-round pick said that Floyd, a first-round selection of Arizona in 2012, has been a valuable teacher to him and the other receivers in the position room. Floyd has the most catches, yards and touchdowns of any receiver currently on Minnesota's roster.

"I think it's going to help us a lot," Treadwell said of Floyd's return. "Mike is a great receiver … We're always learning from him. He's going to make a lot of plays and help this team.

"He carries himself as a professional," Treadwell added. "[With him] being an older receiver, I've just learned so much from him and just how he works."

View images from the Vikings Thursday, September 5th practice at Winter Park.

Injury reports

For the Vikings: Shamar Stephen (back), Andrew Sendejo (shoulder/illness) and Rashod Hill (knee) did not participate. Bradford (knee) and Eric Kendricks (illness) were limited. Jerick McKinnon (ankle) and Tom Johnson (knee) were full participants.

For the Bears: Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) did not participate. Hronsis Grasu (hand), Akiem Hicks (foot) and Willie Young (elbow) were limited.

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