[*]— The Vikings-Broncos exhibition Saturday night features more intrigue than the typical preseason opener.
Denver QB Case Keenum gets to face his former teammates whom he helped reach the NFC championship before management dumped him in favor of Kirk Cousins http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tanner-lee-jersey , the jewel of this winter’s free agent class.
Keenum said Wednesday he’s eager to face the Vikings.
“Definitely. I mean, I got a firsthand view of how good a defense it is, so I know we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a great test. I’m excited to go compete against a really, really talented defense,” Keenum said.
Keenum insisted he holds no grudges , either.
“No, man. I love all those guys,” he said. “This Saturday it’s going to be a competition and we’re going to get after it. I know those guys are going to be jacked to get back on the field just like I’m jacked to get back on the field. But, no. No bad feelings.”
Keenum went 12-4 for the Vikings last season after injuries to Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater, but Minnesota moved on in the offseason, winning the Cousins sweepstakes with, among other things, a strong roster, a sparkling new stadium and a fully guaranteed contract for $84 million over three years.
Keenum signed a two-year Michael Gallup Youth Jersey , $36 million deal in Denver.
Asked what he admires about Keenum’s game after watching film of last season’s surge, Cousins said, “Any time you win 13 games and a playoff game you’re doing an outstanding job as a quarterback, but I’ve watched Case going back to his days in Houston running Coach (Gary) Kubiak’s offense, watching him in L.A. He won that job in training camp, and here, he’s just a winner.”
Cousins said Keenum does all the little things right: “There’s a lot of positives to his game.”
It’s just that the Vikings found more to like in Cousins’ repertoire.
“Case was a winner,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He won a lot of games and moved well in the pocket. He’s a great teammate and made some outstanding plays for us.
“With Kirk, he’s been as advertised. He throws the deep ball well, very accurate, and takes charge of the offense.”
Cousins and Keenum figure to play a series or two Saturday night, then give way to their backups, and that’s where the real intrigue comes in.
Trevor Siemian won the Broncos’ starting job each of the last two summers but was traded to Minnesota after the Broncos signed Keenum.
Zimmer said Siemian’s 24 starts over the last two years and high IQ made him a perfect fit as Cousins’ backup.
Siemian said Keenum’s short stint in Minnesota is indicative of how important it is to have a capable backup ready to step in and run the offense should the starter get hurt.
“Case here, Nick Foles in Philly Archie Bradley Jersey ,” Siemian said. “Yeah, I think you’re one play away. My job is to prepare as if I’m starting and knock on wood, if I’m called upon, I’ll be ready to go.”
Siemian, however, might not even get as much work this weekend as another former Broncos QB, Kyle Sloter, who signed with the Vikings a year ago after a surprisingly strong camp in Denver.
The Broncos are still holding out hope that Paxton Lynch is a late-bloomer and not a first-round bust.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph declared Lynch and Chad Kelly would battle it out for the backup job this summer, yet Lynch has worked exclusively with the second-teamers while Kelly has worked with the third-stringers so far.
Kelly, however, has consistently outshined Lynch and was clearly the superior quarterback in a recent scrimmage.
Lynch figures to get the bulk of the snaps Saturday night for Denver, and his performance could go a long way in determining if the Broncos need to consider signing a veteran backup for Keenum.
Notes: DE Clinton McDonald was getting his troublesome shoulder checked out again Wednesday. … Joseph said TE Jeff Heuerman, who has missed all but one day of camp with a sore left knee, doesn’t necessarily have to rush back to make the roster. “It’s early Cheap Thomas Rawls Jersey ,” Joseph said. “I wouldn’t say that right now. That’s extreme.”
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch felt like he had filled a hole at middle linebacker when he drafted Reuben Foster in the first round a year ago.
Now with Foster facing legal trouble and possible league punishment following three felony charges in a domestic violence case, Lynch heads into this year's draft knowing he can't count on Foster to play this season.
"You have to think about those things," he said. "You have to take that into account. You would be foolish not to.
"So having said that, we grade all the players. We look at every position. I think with the improvements we've made on our roster last year, one of the things we're excited about, does every team have needs? Of course they do. But we filled a lot of those."
They might need to fill the one at linebacker again and could have options with the ninth overall pick where Georgia's Roquan Smith or Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds could be possibilities.
Foster delivered on the field as rookie after being taken 31st overall a year ago, ranking second on the team with 72 tackles in 10 games and looking like a key part of San Francisco's defensive future.
But he was charged with felony domestic violence on April 12 after being accused by authorities of dragging his girlfriend and punching her in the head, leaving her with a ruptured eardrum.
Foster is not participating in the team's offseason program and Lynch said he will be cut if it's proven that he hit a woman. He also faces a potential suspension, leaving his status in doubt.
Here are some other things to watch in the draft:
The 49ers filled their glaring hole at quarterback by trading for Jimmy Garoppolo at last year's trade deadline and giving him a five-year contract this offseason. But how things play out with the quarterbacks will impact San Francisco's draft.
With Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield all projected as high picks, a quality player at another spot could fall to No. 9 or San Francisco could deal that pick if one of those four QBs is still on the board.
"I do think not needing a quarterback and all those quarterbacks likely being up there, it will push some really good football players back there," Lynch said. "You can't just fall in love with one guy Mike McGlinchey Color Rush Jersey , because who knows how it will break."
Lynch was aggressive in his first draft, making six trades. He moved down from No. 2 to No. 3 overall to get more picks and then moved up from the second round to the end of the first to select Foster at No. 31. There were four more deals as Lynch was willing to move up to grab a player he coveted or down to get more picks when there wasn't an obvious selection.
"You better have multiple answers because multiple things could happen," Lynch said. "We're going to be aggressive in finding the guys that we like."
Lynch filled several holes on day 3 of the draft a year ago, with fifth-rounders TE George Kittle and WR Trent Taylor, sixth-round DT D.J. Jones and seventh-round S Adrian Colbert all playing big roles as rookies.
"Everyone focuses on the work up top with No. 9, but we really try to take a holistic look at this thing and pride ourselves on being real strong on the back end of the draft," Lynch said.
HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS
The team's most productive draft pick in recent years was 2016 first-round defense lineman DeForest Buckner, who is an anchor for the defense. Former GM Trent Baalke had far more misses in his final years, leading to his firing following the 2016 season. Baalke used seven picks from 2013-16 on players coming off serious knee injuries and none of those gambles paid off. All seven players are gone and only Tank Carradine and Keith Reaser played more than two games with San Francisco. Lynch had a strong first draft class with several key contributors coming in the late rounds, including Taylor and Colbert.
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