While the Buffalo Bills (6-2) wait to see if quarterback Josh Allen will be able to play against the Minnesota Vikings (7-1) in Week 10 after he suffered an arm injury against the Jets on Sunday, the team looked to backup Case Keenum to lead the team in practice on Wednesday, November 9.
During a press conference earlier in the day, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that Allen is considered “day to day,” while also noting that backup quarterback Case Keenum will be ready to go.
“We believe in Case Keenum,” McDermott said of the 34-year-old veteran they traded for in the offseason. “He’s here for a reason.” This was the second time this week that McDermott has given Keenum a vote of confidence. During Monday’s presser, “He’s a veteran player who has taken a lot of snaps and won games,” McDermott said. “Just his presence on our team carries an influence in a unique way. He knows his role. It’s been good to have him with us here.”
While suddenly shifting from the 6-foot-5, 237-pound dual-threat quarterback leading the offense to Keenum sounds like a daunting task, wide receiver Stefon Diggs says it won’t be that difficult. In fact, Diggs boldly compared the former undrafted quarterback out of Houston to Allen.
Diggs, who was teammates with Keenum during his tenure in Minnesota, is not worried about the journeyman’s ability to step up and deliver. “He’s a winner. He’s a dog… he gives you that confidence that you can win,” the two-time Pro Bowler said of Buffalo’s backup,” per 13WHAM‘s Dan Fetes. Bills reporter Maddy Glab tweeted, “Diggs says he sees similarities between Josh Allen and Case Keenum with their ability to run out of the pocket.”
Twitter strongly reacted to Diggs’ statement. “Diggs a comedian,” one fan tweeted, while another person responded, “Can we stop lying to ourselves that it’ll be fine if case starts and stop calling everyone a dog.”
The Possibility of Both Keenum & Diggs Playing Against the Vikings Has Fans & Analysts Excited
While it’s obviously a devastating blow for the Bills if Allen doesn’t suit up on Sunday, Twitter immediately filled with comments about the wild timing of Keenum’s possible first start in Buffalo. The Bills’ matchup against the Vikings marks the first time Diggs will face his former team since he was traded in March 2020, but the fact the receiver might play them alongside Keenum has many fans and analysts pumped.
Pro Football Talk tweeted, “If for some reason Josh Allen (elbow) can’t go next week for Buffalo, it will be the Bizarro Minneapolis Miracle game, with Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs facing the Vikings,” while News 4 Buffalo producer Nick Veronica tweeted, “I hope Josh Allen’s elbow is OK, but if he’s out this week, Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs against the Vikings is juicy.”
Back in 2017, Keenum started 14 games for Minnesota after starter Sam Bradford got injured. He threw for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns, per S.I.‘s Harrison Reno, leading the Vikings to a 13-3 record before getting eliminated in the playoffs by the Eagles, the team that went on to win Super Bowl LII.
For Keenum, however, who’s played for seven teams during his NFL tenure, he’s not “more jazzed” at the possibility of facing the Vikings. “I’ve played a lot of my former teams before,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s what happens when you have a lot of former teams.”
Overall, “I feel great,” Keenum said. “I’m doing the same thing I do every week. I’m prepared to play every week. Every day… so, it’s the same. I just got more reps today.”
Allen Is ‘Believed to Be Dealing With an Elbow Sprain’
While McDermott refrained from defining Allen’s exact injury, NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that “Allen is believed to be dealing with an elbow sprain, a UCL sprain, which is something actually he has had in the past,” and that it’s “not considered to be a major, major injury. Which means the belief is that it is something he can play through.”
Allen previously suffered an elbow sprain during his rookie year at Wyoming in 2018. The injury kept him out for four games.
“I’m not saying that he is definitively playing this week. That is described to me as being up in the air,” Rapoport continued. “Essentially, we do not know if Josh Allen is going to be on the field this week. From what I understand, he is expected to be limited in practice and then will be judged day-by-day to see how he progresses.”
The possibility of Allen not playing is quickly affecting the team’s odds to win on Sunday. While the Bills were initially favored to beat quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings by 9.5 points, those odds dropped to 7.5 points following Allen’s injury, and with his status up in the air, Buffalo is now deemed 3.5-point favorites, per Fan Duel.