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Minnesota Miracle should make Case Keenum much richer in 2018

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NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

We saw it.

We got wrapped up in it.

The Stefon Diggs touchdown to send the Vikings to the NFC Championship game goes down as one of the most exciting plays in history, rivaling Beastquake (though for Seahawks fans, it could never be rivaled by anything non-Seattle positive) which itself was not even to give his team the lead or the last play of the game.

Though come to think of it, did come against the Saints and Drew Brees.

Prior to Case Keenum’s miracle pass though, he was :10 seconds away from this being his last game before free agency. Prior to that moment, Keenum was going to be a free agent quarterback who went 11-3 in 14 starts, 22 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and ranked number one in DVOA ... but with an 0-1 playoff record and with the whole league knowing that he was heavily aided by a great defense and two exceptional weapons.

With one pass, things are much different for Keenum now.

A look at the Vikings underdog roster that got them here

For one, he went from a pretty awful game (24-of-39, 257 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) to adding a 61-yard touchdown on top of that. He kept himself alive for another playoff game, and Minnesota should be the favorite to beat the Eagles and become the first team to host a Super Bowl as the home team. That one pass alone should ensure that the Vikings will keep Keenum as their starting quarterback for 2018, even if it is on the one-year franchise tag, which itself will be worth around $25 million.

Keenum signed a one-year, $1.9 million deal to backup Sam Bradford and potentially even be third string to Teddy Bridgewater. He’s going to make at least 10x that next season, if not more.

If Keenum wins the next two games though, then it’s possible Minnesota will entertain a four or five-year deal, which itself could get into the $80 million range. If that seems farfetched for a guy who was let go by the Texans and Rams multiple times recently, I don’t think that it is. By all measures, Keenum was a top-12 quarterback in 2017, and his pre-2017 numbers are not all that terrible. Not great, but not Sanchez.

He’d also be a Super Bowl champion, much like Joe Flacco was in 2013 when he advanced the Ravens to the AFC Championship on a miracle 70-yard throw to Jacoby Jones with :41 seconds left to force overtime and beat the Broncos. Flacco was considered in limbo and that perhaps Baltimore would weigh their options if they couldn’t do more than make the playoffs, win one game, and then go home as they did most years. Instead they won the Super Bowl and Flacco became the highest-paid player in the game.

He was still the highest paid quarterback for 2017.

The good news for the Vikings is that they can afford it, for now. Bradford’s $18 million comes off the books and per OvertheCap.com, they’ll have about $57 million in cap space. Scary for a team that is two wins away from their first championship. But Keenum is still not without his limitations, and it’ll be interesting to see him as a $20 million/year player given that he’s a soon-to-be-30 year old journeyman. Do they really want to see him as a $24 million quarterback in 2020? How safe would you feel that Keenum could be as effective in three years, let alone next season?

I’m not so sure, but right now for Minnesota it doesn’t really matter. They’re two wins away and they just beat their biggest obstacle, in my opinion.

The Seahawks do host the Vikings in 2018.