Vikings breakout quarterback Case Keenum learned the team's offense 2 years faster than normal by taking thousands of reps on VR

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a career season in 2017, taking over the starting quarterback spot after beginning the season as a backup.
  • Keenum helped learn the Vikings' offense by taking thousands of repetitions with VR, according to ESPN.
  • Veteran quarterbacks said it used to take them three years to be fully comfortable in an offense while Keenum mastered it in just one season.


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a career season in 2017 as he commanded the starting position once he got a chance and never relinquished it.

Though Keenum was slated to be the backup, he took over when Sam Bradford got hurt, then played too well to turn the reins over to Teddy Bridgewater once he got healthy.

According to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, Keenum, who has played on three teams in five years, got a leg up on the competition by using VR to learn the Vikings' offense. According to Cronin, Keenum took over 2,600 reps via VR, helping him mentally run through all of the Vikings offensive plays off the field.

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Case Keenum through his career
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Case Keenum through his career
HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Cougars throws a pass against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Robertson Stadium November 17, 2007 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 35-28. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Quarterback Case Keenum, # 7 of the Houston Cougars, watches the action on the sidelines during the game against the Central Florida Knights, at Bright House Networks Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Quarterback Case Keenum of Houston runs the 40-yard dash during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 11: Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans against the Carolina Panthers during a preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 11, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Texans defeated the Panthers, 26-13. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 18: Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans during preseason game action at Reliant Stadium on August 18, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX- NOVEMBER 17: Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans walks off the field after the Houston Texans turn the ball over on downs against the Oakland Raiders on November 17, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Raiders won 28 to 23.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Case Keenum #17 of the St. Louis Rams looks to pass the ball against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 14, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Case Keenum #17 of the St. Louis Rams signals to the sidelines during the first quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA - MARCH 04: Case Keenum #17 of the Los Angeles Rams attends the Los Angeles Rams Media Availability on March 4, 2016 in Manhattan Beach, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - MAY 14: NFL player Case Keenum attends KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2016 at StubHub Center on May 14, 2016 in Carson, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Case Keenum #17 of the Los Angeles Rams high fives fans as he leaves the field after his team's 9-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the home opening NFL game at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Case Keenum #17 of the Los Angeles Rams changes the play at the line during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 16, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Rams 31-28. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 10: Case Keenum #7 hands the ball off to Bishop Sankey #43 of the Minnesota Vikings during the game against the Buffalo Bills on August 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Minnesota defeats Buffalo 17-10. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 1: Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after a failed fourth down attempt in the fourth quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions on October 1, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lions defeated the Vikings 14-7. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) high fives fans as he runs into the locker room after winning the game between the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field on Sunday, November 12, 2017. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings attends the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Miami Heat on November 24, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 17: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) calls a play during a NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals on December 17, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.The Vikings defeated the Bengals 34-7.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 31: Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on after the game against the Chicago Bears on December 31, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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There seemed to have been a true mental advantage for Keenum, who in addition to practice and game experience, got used to seeing the same plays over and over, knowing what to expect. Cronin noted that Keenum's QBR under pressure was the best in the NFL season, a possible effect of all of the VR training.

STRIVR CEO Derek Belch said other quarterbacks said that Keenum mastered an offense quicker than they ever did.

"He's getting better, not getting worse, because he's putting more work in and getting more comfortable every week in their system,” Belch said. “Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, guys [STRIVR has worked with] in veteran systems, they were like, 'Man, I wish I had this when I was a rookie because it took me three years to get comfortable in the offense.' He's had less than one year to learn an entire offense and it's turned out really well."

Related: See how the Vikings are expected to fare this weekend: 

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Super Bowl odds going into the Divisional Round
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Super Bowl odds going into the Divisional Round

Tennessee Titans (10-7)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 15%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 1%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jacksonville Jaguars (11-8)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 24%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 2%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (12-5)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 37%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 8%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons (11-6)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 43%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 9%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 76%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 14%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 57%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 15%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 63%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 18%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (13-3)

Odds of making Conference Championship: 85%
Odds of winning Super Bowl: 34%

Via FiveThirtyEight

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Keenum completed 67% of his passes this season, throwing for over 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He went 11-3 as the Vikings starter and never experienced a regression that many people thought might come.

"A lot of guys who are starters don't think they need it anymore because they're getting reps on the field," Belch told Cronin. "[Keenum] said, 'No, I think this is something that would be even more valuable as a starter as a supplemental preparation tool.'"

Keenum's big test will come in the playoffs, as he faces the explosive New Orleans Saints defense on Sunday. But from the sounds of it, Keenum will be mentally prepared for anything the Saints throw at him.

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