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Case Keenum expects 'great test' in matchup with former team

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos' preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings won't lack storylines at the quarterback position.

Case Keenum will face off against his former team — one that he led to the NFC Championship game — for the first time. Trevor Siemian will return to Denver to play against his own former team after spending three years with the Broncos.

Kirk Cousins will aim to show why he was given one of the largest contracts in NFL history, and third-string quarterback Kyle Sloter will venture back to the state where he played college football.

Head Coach Vance Joseph doesn't seem to care about any of it.

"The story obviously on Saturday is going to be the Broncos vs. the Vikings, not player vs. player," Joseph said Wednesday. "We have goals going into those games and obviously it’s not dependent on who we’re playing. It’s about the Broncos in preseason. You want to win, but hitting your goals and obviously playing good team football is important — not really personal challenges.”

It will likely be more difficult for Keenum to ignore the reunion.

He'll battle his former defense, which features two 2017 First-Team All-Pros in safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Defensive end Everson Griffen, outside linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Linval Joseph joined Smith and Rhodes as Pro Bowl selections.

“I got a firsthand view of how good of a defense it is," Keenum said. "I know we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a great test. I’m excited to go compete against a really talented defense.”

Keenum won't channel any animosity toward anyone on the opposing sideline, though. Even after the Vikings chose to move on from Keenum after he threw for 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions and led them to a miraculous win over the Saints, Keenum hasn't harbored any resentment.

“No. I love all of those guys," Keenum said. "This Saturday, it’s going to be a competition and we’re going to get after it. I know those guys are going to be jacked to get back on the field, just like I’m jacked to get back on the field."

After a few deep breaths Saturday — Keenum said he expects to be very excited ahead of the game — the Broncos' new starter will jog out onto the field and try to lead the starting offense to points.

"I love to play," Keenum said. "So, I’m going to play until they take me out. I want to drive down the field, I want to score touchdowns. I don’t know what the plan is, you’ll have to ask Vance about that.

"I’m excited to get back out there.”

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