On Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Rams and Vikings will each look to notch a win and extend their record to 8-2 on the season.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer announced Wednesday that Case Keenum will start against his former team, making this his ninth game – and eighth start – in Purple.
While first-year Rams Head Coach Sean McVay was not with Keenum in Los Angeles last season, quarterback Jared Goff knows the older signal caller quite well. While together in the Rams quarterback room, Keenum and Goff played 10 and seven games for the Rams, respectively (they both played at Seattle on Dec. 15).
"Case is great. He was great, a guy that I learned a lot from, a veteran guy that I was able to come in and sit and learn a lot from, not only on the field but off the field," Goff told Twin Cities media members via conference call Wednesday. "He was an open book for me. I could ask [him anything]."
Goff said he and Keenum have exchanged occasional texts through the season and added that it's been "fun" to see Keenum's success thus far in Minnesota.
"He's the type of guy that you couldn't be happier for," Goff said. "I think with everything he's been through in his career, for him to be in [year five] and playing probably the best ball of his career is exciting, and I couldn't be happier for him."
While McVay did not coach Keenum, he said he's always respected him as someone who "can make all the throws" and has a lot of athleticism.
McVay added that he believes Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur "moves the launch point" with Keenum in or out of the pocket, which has allowed Minnesota to make some explosive plays throughout its first nine games of the season.
"I got a chance to meet Case at the Super Bowl in Houston, him and his wife, and what everybody said about him is exactly what I took away in the little bit of time – very impressive person, great football player, and it's going to be a great challenge for our team going against him leading the offense," McVay said.
Here are other highlights from the Rams talking about the Vikings this week:
Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips on Keenum and Vikings offense:
"I'm very familiar with Case Keenum. When I took over as interim [head coach] at Houston, I made him the quarterback, so he's played me before. He's University of Houston, obviously I'm a University of Houston guy. He's really playing great. I think Pat Shurmur's done a great job with their offense, especially with him. He's obviously matured since we had him in Houston, and he's playing really well.
"The quarterback's playing well, the running backs are playing well, their wide receivers are two top guys, their tight end's a good player, and their offensive line hasn't given up a sack in four games. They can run the ball, throw the ball well, and I think Case is maturing into a really good quarterback. It's a big challenge for us."
McVay on Shurmur's impact on Minnesota's offense
"I think what makes Coach Shurmur such a great coach is that he does such a great job of calling concepts and plays to attack some of the core coverages or good personnel matchups.
"But when you look at it just from creating [explosive plays], the Vikings offense has done a great job of creating explosives throughout the year. They're top five in the league in explosive plays, whether it be through the screen game, the play action, the movement, breaking some long runs, there's a lot of different ways that offensively they can beat you, and I think they've got a lot of great players all over the board. Their line is playing great, you can just see that this is a top-tier unit, and when you watch the tape, you see why."
Goff on facing the Vikings defense:
"Yeah, they're tremendous on defense. No weaknesses, really, at every spot. Up front, the d-line, their linebackers are real good, and the secondary, they're real special, too. So it will be a really good challenge for us and something we're excited for."
McVay on Vikings DT Linval Joseph:
"Well the comparison you see is [between Joseph and Rams DT Aaron Donald] that they're excellent interior players that disrupt the game. And I think when you look at the Vikings defense, Linval's a great player. He's been impactful both in the run and the pass, and I think he's a big reason why [the Vikings] have been at the top of the league year-in and year-out on defense.
"And [Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer] does such a great job, and there's a lot of players, but Linval is certainly a guy you have to account for, and you feel him as an offensive coach. He flashes on that tape snap-in and snap-out."