(TNS) — The Vikings will officially have a new starting quarterback next season.
According to a NFL source, Case Keenum will sign with the Denver Broncos when free agency begins on Wednesday, in a move that both takes away one of the Vikings' potential competitors for Kirk Cousins and ends whatever chance they had of going back to Keenum if Cousins opted to sign with another team.
Keenum, who took over for an injured Sam Bradford in Week 2, never relinquished the job after playing in relief of Bradford in Week 5, but the Vikings' commitment to him always seemed lukewarm. Coach Mike Zimmer demurred when asked repeatedly if Keenum was his starting quarterback during the season, saying in November he had "a plan in place" when Teddy Bridgewater was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list.
And at the NFL combine last month, when the Vikings begin to set up their pursuit of Cousins, they sent signals they weren't sure if Keenum could replicate his performance from 2017, when he threw for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions while leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.
"That's part of it," Zimmer said when asked about the Vikings' need to determine if Keenum's success was sustainable. "It's just kind of guessing. Is he the guy when he was at Houston or the Rams or is he the guy who played for us? Is it because he had a good team around him?"
With the 29-year-old headed to Denver, the Vikings figure to redouble their efforts to land Cousins early in free agency. The team also reportedly reached out to Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday, though Brees is widely expected to stay in New Orleans.
ESPN first reported the news of Keenum's plans to sign with the Broncos.