EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Multiple reports say the Minnesota Vikings have decided not to slap the franchise tag on quarterback Case Keenum, meaning the man who led the club one game from the Super Bowl will become a free agent.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com says sources close to the team's decision makers indicate that the Vikings are looking elsewhere for a quarterback to lead them to a Lombardi Trophy, perhaps towards former Washington QB Kirk Cousins. Former Cowboys executive and current NFL.com staffer Gil Brandt seems to agree. "If I were a betting man, I'd say (Minnesota is) where he lands. Certainly interest on both sides," Brandt said on his Twitter page.
Other NFL insiders shared similar thoughts on social media.
Keenum stepped in and did an admirable job leading the Vikings offense after Sam Bradford's knee injury in week one against the Saints. But speculation began even before the season-ending whipping at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles over who would play quarterback for the purple in 2018-19: Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford or someone under-the-radar.
A decision to not place the protected franchise tag on Keenum would not close the door on his returning to the Vikings, but with quarterbacks in high demand all across the league it would increase the likelihood that some team would dangle a big money contract the Vikings would not match.