Zimmer hints it could be Teddy vs. Keenum: What do the numbers say about who should start?

What do the numbers say about who should start?

Mike Zimmer is on record saying the Vikings' quarterback situation is being handled one day at a time. 

Case Keenum is the starter right now. By the time the Vikings return from their bye next week, Keenum could be in a quarterback competition with Teddy Bridgewater, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

While in London last week, Zimmer said he soon hoped to "have a decision to make" regarding the quarterback situation – a comment he believes got people a little too gung-ho about Bridgewater's chances of starting. 

“When I said that, it was more about the decision to activate Teddy. It wasn’t about the decision of who to play,” Zimmer said Tuesday, via Vikings.com. “I haven’t decided that yet. We’ll continue to take it one day at a time. Just see where he is at, where the team is at, how Case [Keenum] is doing. The whole deal.”

In other words: Neither Keenum nor Teddy are guaranteed anything. 

The numbers say Keenum and Bridgewater are one and the same

Statistically, Keenum and Bridgewater's career numbers are very similar, although it might surprise some to see that Bridgewater's interception rate (1 of every 40 attempts) is higher than Keenum's (1 of every 44 attempts). 

The underlying truth about both, however, is that this year's Vikings offense is better than either of them have played for before.

Keenum started 10 games for the Rams last season and was pretty bad, likely a result of playing for a team that had the 31st ranked rushing offense and an offensive line that gave up the second most sacks in the NFL (49). 

The year prior, in 2015, the Rams' run game ranked seventh, and their quarterbacks were rarely sacked (18 times all season). 

Was it a coincidence that Keenum, in just five starts, threw 4 touchdowns and only 1 interception while competing 60.8 percent of his passes that season? And is that the 29-year-old's ceiling?

Bridgewater started in 2014 and '15 behind offensive lines that gave up a whopping 96 sacks. And remember, Adrian Peterson was suspended in 2014 and Minnesota's ground game suffered. 

The team's rushing production was a lot better in 2015 – fifth in the NFL – and Bridgewater's numbers also improved across the board. 

The Vikings are eighth in rushing and passing this season. Would they be even better with Bridgewater, or about the same as they are with Keenum?

That's the remaining unknown, and what makes this decision so fascinating.

What's next?

Minnesota has until next Wednesday (Nov. 8) to activate Bridgewater from the physically unable to perform list. If they don't, he's done for the season. If they do, he'll be competing for the starting job, per Rapoport. 

"The good news is, it looks like Teddy is getting back to being healthy. Sam Bradford is working his way there, and in the meantime, all Case Keenum has done is help us go 6-2 and stabilize the position," says Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall. "It's probably going to be Case Keenum, the guy who keeps winning games."

That's the likely scenario for Week 10 at Washington, but with every day Bridgewater practices fully – like he has been since Oct. 18 – the quarterback situation becomes more fluid. 

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