But in the span the first 4 weeks, two of our brightest spots on our offense fell victim to injury and in a lot of ways it looked like we would be forced to lean even harder on our stellar defense as our offense limped through the season with a backup quarterback and running back committee at the helm.
But as the story turned out, McKinnon and Murray became one of the most potent RB committees in the game. And Case Keenum lit a fire in our offense that we had not seen since Brett Favre. While the Running Back position gives us a little more flexibility in regards to signings, my biggest concern going into next year is how do we keep Case Keenum.
To start, the Vikings will have a little over $60M in cap room for the 2018 season so we definitely have some money to work with.
If we simply look at free agents that we are definitely not resigning next year, Emmanuel Lamur and Sam Bradford make up $20.75M of that free cap/year – and that figure alone would give Case Keenum more per year than Aaron Rodgers. This is not to say that we would give him all of that, but we definitely can hit the ceiling as far as what he would go for on the market.
The best part about this is that it would still gives us almost $40M in free cap to spend on players that would be up for extensions in the upcoming years.
But what makes this team very stable is that we have the core of our young defense signed through 2021. These players include, Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph, and Everson Griffen.
2018 will be a big signing year for the Vikings as we will have to pay up for Stefon Diggs, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and Danielle Hunter.
But going through 2020 along with the defensive core that I had mentioned above, we will have Thielen, Reiff, Remmers, Cook, and Elflein all signed through 2020.
So even if Keenum demands an elite contract, we definitely have it in the budget to give it to him, considering that we can thrive through 2020 with 4 player signings in 2018 and a $40M+ to negotiate with (due to retirement and other contracts that will be freed up).
I am actually impressed with how stable this payroll is, because what we have to remember is that we will continue to get rookie contracts each year which will help keep this freed up space in the budget. And that makes me way more comfortable in putting a larger sum of money towards Keenum.
So the money is there. The stability is there to prevent us from turning into the Indianapolis Colts. So I’d say sign him!
And honestly I feel like Keenum would come back, but the only looming reason that he wouldn’t is Pat Shurmur. If Shurmur leaves and gets another coaching job, it would make a ton of sense for Keenum to follow him if that team was needing a quarterback. Shurmur essentially made Keenum’s career and it would make sense if they were to stay together.
We can get in a bidding war for Case with possible Shurmur landing spots but will be an article for another time. But to conclude this one, if the Vikings want Keenum they can get him, while remaining stable landing on the other side of 2020.