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Vikings’ QB situation could be a thing to watch for Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have neither a head coach nor a starting quarterback lined up for 2018.

Fitting those two puzzle pieces is key. Will the new head coach and his staff be starting a veteran quarterback, or will the team go straight into the development of a young signal-caller?

Based on what Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has said in the past, winning is paramount. So no matter whether Arizona drafts its quarterback of the future, expect that the team will explore the veteran quarterback market in depth.

If we’re to look one or two steps into the future, the Cardinals might be keeping an eye on the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation. And as Minnesota waits out its playoff bye this week, Arizona could be piecing together a road map to kill two birds with one stone.

Hiring Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as head coach could do just that.

Shurmur reportedly met with Arizona brass on Thursday, and many see him as the ideal fit in Arizona as one of the few coaches on the market with an offensive background. In addition, his potential hiring could come with good quarterback news.

League sources of ESPN’s Adam Schefter believe Shurmur could bring quarterback and free-agent-to-be Case Keenum along with him, if Shurmur’s destination has an opening under center.

Shurmur and Keenum have developed a close working relationship in which the two men “both think very highly of each other,” according to one source.

It’s only natural, then, that if Shurmur’s new team needed a quarterback, the man he’s expected to look to would be Keenum, who has played like an MVP candidate this season in Minnesota.

Shurmur has also received interest from the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and New York Giants, according to Schefter.

But regardless of whether the Cardinals hire Shurmur, how the quarterback situation plays out for the Vikings after their playoff run could relate to Arizona’s future. Minnesota has options at quarterback between Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater, and it would be a smart bet that at least one of them is off next year’s Vikings squad.

Keenum might be the fastest-rising free agent name after he quarterbacked Minnesota to a 13-3 record this year, throwing for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns to seven picks. He completed 67.6 percent of his pass attempts.

Bradford, who will also become a free agent, only appeared in two games for the Vikings and is still dealing with a knee injury that required surgery to clean out loose particles. He experienced his best season as a pro in 2016, throwing for 3,877 yards and completing 71.6 percent of his passes for 20 scores and five picks in 15 games.

The wild card of the bunch is Bridgewater, who on Dec. 17 returned from a career-threatening knee injury that cost him nearly two full seasons. Like Bradford, Bridgewater will face questions about his health in free agency.

Would the Cardinals be interested in any of them?

It’s hard to say, especially without a head coach in place. But in all likelihood, the Vikings’ offseason decisions will play some part of a domino effect for quarterback-needy teams like Arizona.

So, too, will Shurmur’s future.

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