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Case Keenum says he’s ‘excited nervous’ about first career playoff start

Case Keenum isn’t denying he’s nervous for the first postseason start in his NFL career. But the Minnesota Vikings quarterback isn’t quite admitting it, either.

Instead, Keenum — whose play in Sam Bradford’s stead proved critical to the Vikings (13-3) winning the NFC North and securing a bye in the playoffs — says he’s “excited nervous.”

“For us, it’s just remember what got us here,” Keenum said, via ESPN. “It’s the same game we’ve been playing the last time I checked and same field, same stadium, same amount of time.”

Keenum admits he expects some nerves to rise up ahead of kickoff. But he makes the distinction between the bad kind of nerves and the good sort.

“I call it not a scared nervous, but an excited nervous,” Keenum said. “I’m excited because I’m prepared and I know what I’m going to do. I know I’m going to play. But man, you get the adrenaline going, you’re waiting in that tunnel, you hear US Bank Stadium going crazy out there. I mean, if you’re not feeling something at that point, I tell people you might be an adrenaline junkie and need to go jump out of planes or bungee or do other stuff like that because it’s an exciting moment and it’s really cool.”

Keenum came out of nowhere to lead a respectable Vikings’ attack on offense. After all, the journeyman quarterback signed with the Vikings on a one-year, $2 million deal. But Keenum seized the opportunity to resurrect his career in Minnesota by posting an 11-3 record as a starter. And by doing so, Keenum likely lined himself up for a significant financial windfall this coming offseason regardless of how Minnesota’s postseason plays out.

Perhaps that is why Keenum is treating Sunday’s divisional round showdown against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium like any other game, despite being “excited nervous” about it.