MINNEAPOLIS -- When Teddy Bridgewater reached a self-proclaimed "mini-milestone" last week as he returned to practice for the first time in more than a year, the focus shifted away from the short term and toward thoughts of when the quarterback could be back under center.
The Minnesota Vikings' quarterback carousel has gone around and around in the first half of this season, with Bridgewater on the sideline, an unknown timetable for Sam Bradford’s return from a knee injury, and questions about how much longer Case Keenum can continue to lead the offense.
On Sunday, Minnesota grabbed its third straight win with a 24-16 victory over Baltimore, but it was the first time in awhile that Keenum looked and performed like a backup.
Keenum struggled with his accuracy, overthrowing targets and mistiming his throws. He finished 20-of-31 for 188 yards, with an interception and a 67.7 passer rating.
The Vikings' defense again came through to secure the victory, which was made possible by kicker Kai Forbath’s record field goal day.
What it means: The Vikings can figure out ways to win games without having consistency at quarterback. Forbath was 6-of-6 on field goals, scoring 18 of the Vikings' 24 points. Minnesota’s defense held the Ravens to 3.3 yards per play and obliterated their run game, which had been averaging 129.5 yards per game. In this one, Baltimore had 64 yards rushing.
Field goal fest: Forbath's six field goals marked a career best. He hit from 52, 51, 43, 43, 34 and 32 yards. When Minnesota’s drives stalled in the first half, Forbath was able to give the Vikings a lead at halftime, and he made sure they never trailed from there on out. Forbath missed the one extra point he attempted after running back Latavius Murray’s touchdown, but at that point the kicker had already booted four field goals. Of his four misses this season, three have been on PATs. Forbath combined with Ravens kicker Justin Tucker for nine total field goals.
Fantasy fallout: Those who have been riding with Murray for the last couple of weeks finally saw the payout in Week 7. Murray broke through for a season-best 113 yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries. He looked patient and was able to break off a 35-yard run in the third quarter that eventually set up one of Forbath’s field goals. Murray had his breakout performance on a day when the offensive line was hurting. Left guard Jeremiah Sirles was ruled out for the second half with a knee injury, and left tackle Riley Reiff sustained a knee injury as well.
The streak continues: Everson Griffen recorded his seventh consecutive game with a sack when he dropped Ravens QB Joe Flacco for a 9-yard loss at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The defensive end became the sixth player to record a sack in each of his team’s first seven games to start the season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. He’s one away from the Vikings record set by Jim Marshall in 1969 and tied by Jared Allen in 2011.
What’s next: The Vikings travel to London in Week 8 to face the Cleveland Browns. Minnesota will operate on an adjusted schedule and head across the pond on Wednesday afternoon. The Vikings’ 21-day window to determine Bridgewater’s status for the remainder of the year closes ahead of Week 10 when they face the Redskins on the road.