CHICAGO (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings know they have an insurance policy if Sam Bradford’s knee remains a problem.
Case Keenum has proven this before and did it again Monday against the Chicago Bears in a 20-17 victory.
“I’ve tried to prepare like I’ve been the starter,” Keenum said. “I think that helps when you’re called upon and need to step in, so you can do the same job as the guy that’s been doing it.
“Be able to see the defense the same way and make the calls the same way. Being prepared like that helps.”
With a game against the Green Bay Packers coming Sunday, the Vikings won’t know Bradford’s status until later in the week. Bradford failed to make it through his first game back since suffering swelling and soreness in a surgically repaired left knee.
Sacked four times, an obviously immobile Bradford came out just before halftime after a 5-for-11 performance.
“It just got to a point where it was hurting him bad enough where he couldn’t finish,” Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon said.
Keenum came in and led the win by completing 17 of 21 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. He was 14 for 18 and 119 yards in the second half.
Keenum was 1-2 in three starts before Monday’s Vikings win.
“He did a great job executing,” McKinnon said. “It’s real tough in this league to come into that situation and do what he did.
“Everybody believes in him and he showed why.”
Keenum threw a 13-yard TD pass to Kyle Rudolph in the third quarter for a 10-2 lead, and in the fourth quarter the Vikings benefited from Harrison Smith’s interception to score the winning points on a 26-yard Kai Forbath field goal with 12 seconds remaining.
The interception spoiled Mitchell Trubisky’s — he completed 12 of 25 for 128 yards.
“I just have to do a better job of taking care of the football,” Trubisky said. “We need to work on the little things, really.”
Other notes and takeaways from the game:
Even with running back Dalvin Cook out for the year with a torn ACL, the Vikings showed they have breakaway speed in the backfield. McKinnon had a 58-yard TD run around the right side in the third quarter for a 17-9 lead. It was the Vikings’ longest run of the season.
McKinnon finished with 95 yards on 16 carries.
“My main focus was to make plays, feed off Latavius (Murray), C.J. (Ham), those guys, the running backs, bring the energy and make plays,” McKinnon said.
The Bears stayed in the game with trick plays. One came from special teams and the other from offense on a two-point conversion.
Punter Pat O’Donnell threw a 38-yard TD pass to Benny Cunningham to pull the Bears within 10-9 in the third quarter. Cunningham was wide open 10 yards downfield on a fake punt and dodged one tackle try before going to the end zone.
“Whether it’s a turnover, steal, a first down — whatever it is you just want to make an impact throughout the game to kind of help those guys on offense and defense,” Cunningham said.
A trick two-point conversion tied the score at 17-17 when Trubisky handed to Jordan Howard and he handed it to Zach Miller on a reverse. Miller pitched it to Trubisky and he walked into the end zone.
“That’s fun,” Miller said. “Takes me back to my college days: great call and design.”
Trubisky was down about his fourth-quarter interception, but Bears coach John Fox called it an upbeat debut regardless of the big mistake. Trubisky’s leadership was a key. He also scrambled for 22 yards in addition to his passing.
“I think our guys feel it,” Fox said. “I think they feel his presence.”
Smith, who made the decisive interception, was equally impressed with Trubisky.
“You can tell he definitely has some skill and he is going to be a player,” Smith said.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and teammates had planned an unconventional TD celebration, and Rudolph’s 13-yard TD catch in the third quarter gave them a chance to do it.
“Duck, duck, goose was planned in the huddle right before we went out,” Rudolph said. “We called the play, the play we run all week in practice. I knew somebody was going to score.
“I said whoever scores here you’re the duck. Everybody else sit down here in a circle and we will have some fun.”
Playing without suspended Danny Trevathan and with Jerrell Freeman and Nick Kwiatkoski injured, the Bears lost a fourth inside linebacker when John Timu went out with a knee injury. They finished with Christian Jones and Jon Anderson on the field.
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