NFL1000: Doug Farrar\'s Week 15 QB Rankings

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The Minnesota Vikings entered Sunday with a chance to stay atop the NFC standings with a road victory against the Carolina Panthers. However, they fell in the final minutes and will point to some missed chances along the way as a big reason why. Quarterback Case Keenum completed 27 of 44 passes for a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss.

His ability to move and evade in the pocket was again on full display. On one prime example, Keenum was able to duck under and away from Luke Kuechly, turning a potential sack into a minimal gain and keeping the offense on schedule.

His touchdown passes were both impressive. The first came on a seam route to tight end Kyle Rudolph in the red zone. Minnesota ran a concept that sent Rudolph up the seam and had a receiver hitch in the underneath zone. That drew the attention of the safety for a split second, allowing Rudolph to establish inside leverage, and Keenum put the football right on his TE for the score. Then Keenum drilled in a post route to Adam Thielen between multiple defenders, and from there the WR outraced the Panthers defense for the score.

But the interceptions and the missed opportunities were the story of Keenum's day. Early in the game, Keenum tried to hit Thielen on an out-and-up route, but the pass was underthrown and Daryl Worley was able to recover for the interception.

Then Keenum looked to Stefon Diggs on a smoke screen, but the throw was too high and Diggs could not secure the pass, tipping it to a Panthers defender for the turnover. Diggs also worked free on a slot-fade route against Captain Munnerlyn, but Keenum's pass was underthrown and the defender broke it up.

Finally, the Vikings faced a 1st-and-goal late in the game, trailing by three. With a chance to take the lead, Keenum missed Diggs on a fade-stop route, leaving the throw too far inside and allowing the defender to make a play. Then on third down, Keenum was sacked, forcing the field-goal unit to come on and tie the game. That set the stage for Cam Newton's big run and the game-winning score for Carolina.

The loss prevented Minnesota from clinching the division, and while its path to the playoffs remains solid, the No. 1 seed is far less likely. However, if Keenum can eliminate the mistakes and convert chances like he saw Sunday going forward, Minnesota will remain a difficult team to face in the postseason.

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NFL1000: Doug Farrar's Week 15 QB Rankings
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