- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a career season in 2017, taking over the starting quarterback spot after beginning the season as a backup.
- Keenum helped learn the Vikings’ offense by taking thousands of repetitions with VR, according to ESPN.
- Veteran quarterbacks said it used to take them three years to be fully comfortable in an offense while Keenum mastered it in just one season.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a career season in 2017 as he commanded the starting position once he got a chance and never relinquished it.
Though Keenum was slated to be the backup, he took over when Sam Bradford got hurt, then played too well to turn the reins over to Teddy Bridgewater once he got healthy.
According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, Keenum, who has played on three teams in five years, got a leg up on the competition by using VR to learn the Vikings’ offense. According to Cronin, Keenum took over 2,600 reps via VR, helping him mentally run through all of the Vikings offensive plays off the field.
There seemed to have been a true mental advantage for Keenum, who in addition to practice and game experience, got used to seeing the same plays over and over, knowing what to expect. Cronin noted that Keenum’s QBR under pressure was the best in the NFL season, a possible effect of all of the VR training.
STRIVR CEO Derek Belch said other quarterbacks said that Keenum mastered an offense quicker than they ever did.
“He’s getting better, not getting worse, because he’s putting more work in and getting more comfortable every week in their system,” Belch said. “Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, guys [STRIVR has worked with] in veteran systems, they were like, ‘Man, I wish I had this when I was a rookie because it took me three years to get comfortable in the offense.’ He’s had less than one year to learn an entire offense and it’s turned out really well.”
Keenum completed 67% of his passes this season, throwing for over 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He went 11-3 as the Vikings starter and never experienced a regression that many people thought might come.
“A lot of guys who are starters don’t think they need it anymore because they’re getting reps on the field,” Belch told Cronin. “[Keenum] said, ‘No, I think this is something that would be even more valuable as a starter as a supplemental preparation tool.'”
Keenum’s big test will come in the playoffs, as he faces the explosive New Orleans Saints defense on Sunday. But from the sounds of it, Keenum will be mentally prepared for anything the Saints throw at him.