Case Keenum leads Vikings to victory over Browns

The Minnesota Vikings edged the Cleveland Browns 33-16 at Twickenham Stadium in the fourth and final game in London this season. Here’s what we learned: 

1. The Vikings came out sleepy in London but pulled away in the second half. Case Keenum played well, finding underneath dump offs to Jerick McKinnon early to move the chains. The QB made a bevy of third-and-long throws to keep Vikings drives alive. Keenum converted on 3rd-and-15, 3rd-and-11, 3rd-and-9 (DPI), and 3rd-and-10. The veteran attempted 43 passes, his most of the season, finishing 27-of-43 for 288 yards, two TDs and an INT against a leaky Browns secondary. It wasn’t all perfect, as Keenum had four balls batted at the line of scrimmage in the first half, one of which was intercepted. Keenum has been a pleasant surprise this season replacing an injured Sam Bradford. Keenum’s been steady on balance for a defense-first squad. With Teddy Bridgewater getting healthy, the Vikes are in an enviable position of having options under center moving forward.

2. DeShone Kizer started and played the entire game this week. The Browns‘ game plan early included a plethora of quick designed dump off for Kizer to get the ball out of his hands quickly and avoid a fierce Vikings pass rush. With Spencer Drango starting in place of injured left tackle Joe Thomas, Kizer wasn’t sacked until the fourth quarter. While his decision making improved slightly, Kizer continued to struggle mightily in the red zone and was again off the mark on deep shots. The rookie didn’t throw an interception for the first time in his NFL career, finishing 18-of-34 for 179 yards.

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Cleveland took an early lead, and the game was close into the fourth quarter, but the Browns still can’t get out of their own way. Cleveland turned the ball over twice (leading to two field goals), squandered a 71-yard kick return on a missed field goal, and missed a PAT. Hue Jackson also bizarrely took a timeout with 42 seconds left in the first half at the goal line, which helped lead to a Minnesota field goal before halftime.

3. Vikings star receiver Stefon Diggs returned after missing the past two game. Early the wideout was used mostly on underneath drag routes, catching four passes for 27 yards in the first half. Diggs didn’t go deep much but caused a big pass interference in the fourth quarter with the score still close. The presence of Diggs helped open up Adam Thielen for another big day, earning 98 yards, five receptions and a TD on 10 targets. With Diggs healthy, the Vikings own one of the top receiver tandems in the NFL for whoever suits up under center in Week 10.

— Kevin Patra