Vikings QB Case Keenum’s Faith and Family Strengthened Through Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Keenum Met Wife at FCA Event and Tells Sports Ministry That Athletes Have Great Influence and Can Win for Christ
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Minnesota football fans are dreaming of a home Super Bowl after a down-to-the-wire finish last week against New Orleans that extended the Vikings’ playoff run. After the last-second bomb by quarterback Case Keenum that connected with Stefon Diggs and helped the team to advance to a meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, the city is loving its QB.
Days later, Keenum may still be in shock, but his deep faith in Jesus has been preparing him for this moment.
Keenum has been a steady presence for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org), who profiled the star quarterback in several college football issues of FCA Magazine. While he was a senior, and soon to be signed by the Houston Texans, Keenum told FCA that football players must be ever mindful of their influence.
“I tell kids all the time that, no matter what, somebody is watching you, especially if you are an athlete,” Keenum said. “There are people who look at you and want to be like you, and you have the ability to promote whatever it is you want to promote. You can promote yourself, you can promote your team. But, if you are a Christian, you can choose to promote Christ, and that’s been what I’ve strived to do ever since I stepped on the field.”
Keenum’s journey to the Vikings had many steps along the way, with two stints with both the Texans and the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. But long before that, the football standout was a high school player who started his story with his wife, Kimberly, at an FCA event in Abilene, Texas, their hometown. On their website, the Vikings recently profiled Case and Kimberly’s FCA meeting over a snow cone.
Kimberly told the Vikings that it’s been a shared faith that has helped her and Case view the twists and turns of the football journey—from high school, to the University of Houston, to ups and downs in the NFL—as a fun ride along, after their first get-together over a cup of flavored ice.
“I’ve seen a lot of his successes, and then I’ve seen a lot of the people that are naysayers—thinking he’s not tall enough or doesn’t have a strong enough arm, or whatever,” says Kimberly, who also worked with FCA as an administrative assistant in the Houston FCA office from 2010-2014. “It’s been a journey, but it’s been great.”
She added, “It’s always been for a purpose why we’ve gone through whatever we’ve gone through – we may think it’s this negative thing going on, but it ends up being so much better than we ever could have imagined.”
ESPN also recently profiled the relationship between Keenum and former Team Chaplain and Character Development Coach for the football program at the University of Houston, Mikado Hinson. Over the years, Hinson, who also served on FCA staff from 1998 to 2014, became one of Keenum’s closest friends. Every Sunday morning, ESPN reported, Hinson’s phone buzzes about 8 a.m.—sometimes later depending on when the Vikings play. It’s Case calling to share in a short prayer as part of his game day routine.
The two were connected through FCA, and the chaplain got to know the quarterback well and quickly took him under his wing. “He’s always stayed true to his roots, regardless of whether good things are happening to him or the bad things,” Hinson told ESPN about Keenum. “That’s what makes him who is he is. When people start screaming your name and cheering for you, or even when they don’t, do you change?”
FCA is a family affair for the Keenums. Case’s father, Steve, a football standout in his own right, spent 24 years in coaching before becoming a leader within FCA. Today, the elder Keenum serves as the Multi-Area Director of the Big Country Fellowship of Christian Athletes, covering Abilene, Texas, and surrounding areas. Case’s mom and Steve’s wife, Susan, is also an FCA volunteer, and Case’s two sisters, Lauren and Allison, have served with FCA as well.
Case Keenum, who attended FCA Camps in middle school and high school, has also recorded several video devotionals for FCA, including one story he recounted while playing at the University of Houston. He had thrown a game-losing interception and was in despair after the loss, but a player from the other team shook his hand after the game, said he’d heard good things about the quarterback off the field and to “keep it up.”
“That just goes to show the influence that you don’t even know you have sometimes,” Keenum said. “And even when things don’t turn out the way you want them to, sometimes that’s how it needs to be. Winning on the scoreboard is not always the most important thing. Sometimes it’s just winning for Christ.”
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.