By: Will Burchfield

It’d be hard to find a softer taunting penalty than the one Case Keenum was assessed in the Vikings’ win over the Lions on Thursday.

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First of all, Keenum isn’t that kind of player.

Second of all, he had just been sacked. Why would he want to taunt the opponent?

Third of all, he didn’t do anything but flip the football out of his hand and watch it harmlessly hit a celebrating Ziggy Ansah in the foot.

Nevertheless, taunting was the call.

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The penalty, which occurred on a 3rd-and-14 in the third quarter, cost the Vikings eight yards and helped set up great field position for the Lions. They’d score on the ensuing drive.

Keenum said he spoke with the official who threw the flag to get an explanation after the play.

“It’s not something I meant to do at all,” he said. “I was just frustrated with getting sacked, something that I can avoid. I did a bad job in the pocket, didn’t do my offensive line justice and I was kind of frustrated. I guess I threw the ball. I need to see it on film. I don’t even remember what happened, I didn’t realize it was a penalty on myself.

“That’s not me, that’s not who I am, But at the same time, I don’t even need to give the refs a chance to call that and put our team in a situation where we’re punting backed up and giving them a short field like that.”

It was otherwise a terrific day for the Vikings’ quarterback. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

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After beginning the season as the team’s backup, Keenum has helped Minnesota to a 9-2 record and a three-game lead over Detroit in the NFC North.