Colin Cowherd thinks the Minnesota Vikings are for real, despite lack of star power

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Bucky Brooks and Jason McIntyre join Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd to discuss the rise of the Minnesota Vikings and whether they can make a playoff run in 2017.

- Cowherd, are you taking the Vikings seriously?

- Absolutely. No question. But they don't have any stars. If you asked the average NFL fan who even likes the game, and you said, who-- the five best players for the Vikings, you'd get Stefon Diggs. Does Adrian Peterson still play for them?

- I literally had to think that through.

- Yeah, they just-- they are just one of these teams, like the Astros before the playoffs. Now we know the Astros. But unless you lived in Houston, the national dialogue is, yeah, they got good young players, Altuve.

Minnesota's just really good with a bunch of really good players. None of them have posters or shoe deals. But when I watch Minnesota-- that game in Washington yesterday, it wasn't close for-- it was really--

JASON WHITLOCK: No, no, it was a dominant performance.

- --they pushed a very good-- [INAUDIBLE] a Washington team that won in Seattle, won in LA. That's the first time I've watched Washington this year get pushed around for most of that game.

So I think Minnesota-- you know, I mean, we live in a world where more people know the Packers' backup Brett Hundley than know the third best player on the Vikings. Because the Packers are a big franchise and Aaron Rodgers got replaced.

JASON WHITLOCK: They got a issue, though, Colin.

- What?

- They don't know who their quarterback is based off the head coach right now saying, we're not going to announce until later in the week. They don't have-- Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater. None of them are under contract next year. They've got some hopes at a draft pick tied up in Teddy Bridgewater. Clearly, they're sitting there saying, damn, if we don't play him this year, how can we offer him a contract extension? Or are we just going to let him go? And they may be stuck with Case Keenum, who I actually like.

COLIN COWHERD: So do I.

- Case Keenum--

COLIN COWHERD: He's OK.

- --is playing much better than I ever anticipated.

- He has a expiration date on him.

- That's what I think, too.

- Look, guys, come on. He's going to turn into a pumpkin eventually.

- No, but again-- but you're 9, 10 games into the season. And you're going to bring Teddy Bridgewater off--

BUCKY BROOKS: I'm not saying you pull the plug. I think with the Minnesota Vikings, they're one of the few teams that are not solely dependent on the quarterback. The surrounding pieces are really, really good. The defense is outstanding. Mike Zimmer does a great job of keeping those guys in the mix, and they will be engaged.

I think their two wide receivers, quietly, are one of the best combinations that you'll see. Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs. They get it done. Kyle Rudolph in the middle of the field. They control it.

The thing about the quarterback, Case Keenum, he played well, but he also has some hiccups. Can he avoid reverting back to the Case Keenum that we all know?

Pat Shurmur has done a great job of building this offense. We'll see if Teddy Bridgewater plays. But if they keep winning games, I think Zimmer has to keep Keenan in the mix and they deal with Bridgewater down the road.

- I don't know. I lean toward Bridgewater. I mean, how do you feel-- Case Keenum, fourth team, I believe, in six seasons, OK? Nine TDs, 12 picks last year. This is a journeyman. That's what he is. Now he's going to be looking over his shoulder at the guy everybody loves. The media making a big deal out of Bridgewater coming back.

I would start Bridgewater this week against a Rams defense-- remember, 28th, I believe, in sacks, 24th in interceptions. They're not a great defense. I know you like the Rams a lot. Their defense is not great. There's a chance here for Bridgewater in a big spot to come in and start.

JASON WHITLOCK: You got to outscore the Rams. And I don't know if Teddy dusting off Teddy Bridgewater means I'm outscoring the Rams.

COLIN COWHERD: But you brought up a point on my show today that I think's a real point, is that-- you see this in baseball where the guys come into the league, first time around, people throw them a diet of fastballs. Then everybody gets tape on the hitter. Second time around the league, the average drops. Case Keenum, expiration date.

- Oh, it's coming. It's coming. I mean, we know what he is in the league. He's a-- let's say, he's a high-end backup. He's not a long-term starter.

And right now, it's been good. They dropped some picks the other day that should have been picks. They had two go the other way for the Redskins. How long can he continue to play like that?

The one thing that plays well in his favor, he gets the ball out. He allows his playmakers on the outside to do work. And as long as he plays like that, he's going be fine. He can't forget who he is--

COLIN COWHERD: By the way--

- --and try to be something that he's not.

- --he did make a couple of bad throws late.

- Yes.

- The one off the back foot that got picked. He got exposed a little bit late.

JASON WHITLOCK: I've seen-- and Bucky has seen this before. He just doesn't remember.

- Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- And I agree with you. Like, you ride Case Keenum until it runs out. But when you get to a certain point in the season, you have to say Case Keenum is our guy, because there's not going to be enough time to get Teddy Bridgewater ready for when it changes in the playoffs.

You're absolutely right. Because we messed it up in Kansas City with Rich Gannon and Elvis Grbac. And it cost them the ring.

- And Rich Gannon ended up going on late in his career to become a great quarterback. I'm not saying that's going to happen to Case Keenum. But I'm saying it can happen.

And I just wonder if I'm the Rick Spielman and the Vikings front office, if I've got this draft pick invested in Teddy Bridgewater, will they make the decision from up high, we want Terry on the field before it's too late, if that's the pressure.

Because I'm just-- if I'm Mike Zimmer, I'm not-- there's no debate about who I'm starting against the Rams. Case Keenum's going to be motivated. The Rams ran him out. And he's playing relatively well.

- Yeah.

- There's no question.

- But we're also seeing a Denver Broncos team right now-- you guys are watching the Broncos-- where the quarterback situation is so murky and ugly that you've lost the defense. That defense is now getting shredded multiple weeks in a row.

Do you want to run the risk of starting Keenum, couple bad picks, they're in a hole, and then the defense, and then you kind of lose-- run the risk--

JASON WHITLOCK: He put up 38 points or something this weekend.

- Eh, it's one game against a tired Redskins team. You I would go Bridgewater.

- I can't believe I'm saying it. But--

- Go ahead. Say it.

- --he has played well enough that I was like, well, hell, they have no choice but to keep him out there and move--

BUCKY BROOKS: They have to keep him in. You can't pull him out of the lineup. Where he is right now, coming off the performance that he just had, even though he had the two interceptions, he's played well enough to be the starter. And unless he has two monumental meltdowns, I can't see removing him and keeping the credibility within the locker room.