The Vikings traded for quarterback Sam Bradford and Daniel House gives you some of his thoughts about the acquisition.
Updated: September 5th, 2016 8:05pm
Updated: September 5th, 2016 8:05pm
By: Daniel House
By: Daniel House
When Teddy Bridgewater went down injured, the Vikings needed an alternative at quarterback. The initial thought was to add a young player via free agency, but the team boldly traded a first and conditional fourth round pick to acquire former number one pick Sam Bradford from Philadelphia. Bradford had an up-and-down career during stops in St. Louis and Philadelphia and has been riddled by injuries. He will enter Minnesota surrounded by talent and the expectation level will be high. The Vikings made the move because they have their sights set on a championship. Their roster has enough talent to get them there and they didn't want the quarterback position to hold them back. It's that simple.
Many of you have been asking for my thoughts on the decision and I provided some of my key points:
He's in the best situation of his career and must stay healthy
Quarterback Sam Bradford has never been surrounded with as much talent or coaching in his entire career. The Vikings have a young nucleus of skilled playmakers in both the rushing and receiving aspects of the game. Not to mention, the Vikings have one of the best coaching staffs when it comes to maximizing the full potential of players. Quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will be a great mentor to Bradford as he makes the transition to Minnesota. Sam Bradford's early career has been plagued by two ACL tears and numerous other injuries. It is slightly concerning when you consider the equity the Vikings gave up to get him. However, last season he played 14 games -- the most he has played in a season since 2012. He isn't entering to the most stable offensive line situation, but the unit has improved enough to be effective. As it always has been, offensive line play will dictate the success of the Vikings offense. Bradford needs time to make throws and can't be hit consistently because of his durability problems. Nonetheless, he has the opportunity to get his career back on the right track with a team that has enough talent on both sides of the ball to make a deep playoff run.
Bradford has familiarity with several faces on the team
According to GM Rick Spielman, the input of tight ends coach Pat Shurmur played a pivotal role in the decision to pursue Sam Bradford. Shurmur coached him in St. Louis and Philadelphia and has a strong familiarity of his strengths and weaknesses. Bradford also played at Oklahoma with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and has a relationship with him. In the NFL, it is all about the connections you have with certain teams. It can make all the difference when it comes to where a player lands if they are acquired via trade or free agency. Additionally, Bradford's backup in St. Louis was Shaun Hill and they have developed a solid relationship over the years. There are so many people Bradford has connections with on this team. It will help him adjust and fit well with his new teammates. After being added a week before the first regular season game, Bradford will need to adapt quickly. Having some previous relationships and continuity will hopefully have a positive impact on the transition.
He can make the throws in the system
Sam Bradford has played in the Air Coryell offense for three seasons of his career, so he should be familiar with some of the concepts this system has to offer. He has the ability to throw the ball deep, but he hasn't done it consistently. In the west coast system, he was asked to make plenty of short throws. He made some mistakes and has never fit well in any scheme he has played in. Could the vertical passing in the Vikings offense be a positive change? I'm a little skeptical, but I think he can make the throws necessary for the team to win football games. He needs to complete the deep crossing routes, posts, and passes in the seam that range from about 15-25 yards. If he can execute those throws to keep the defense honest, Adrian Peterson can run wild in the backfield. However, a 60% career completion percentage won't cut it. Bradford needs to connect with his receivers consistently and limit his mistakes. He had multiple interception games in five matchups last year and needs to make better decisions.
Finally, Sam Bradford has thrown 52 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the red zone during his career. The Vikings had one of the worst conversion percentages inside the 20-yard line last year and Bradford might actually help improve this statistic.
Gives flexibility if Teddy isn't ready for 2017
The Vikings don't know whether quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be ready to return for the 2017 season. They need to have another plan in place if Bridgewater can't swiftly recover from his knee injury. Bradford has two years left on his contract and GM Rick Spielman said that played a big role in their decision to trade for Bradford. Philadelphia will cover $11 million of his salary this year, but the Vikings will be on the hook for his $17 million cap hit in 2017. If Teddy isn't ready, are the Vikings going to have the flexibility to sign other players to extensions if Bradford is taking up so much space? Ideally, if Teddy is ready and Bradford performs well, the Vikings could trade him and accumulate picks back. The Vikings gave up a huge haul to get Bradford (1st and 4th round picks) and it could backfire if he doesn't perform well. Nonetheless, it sends a message to those within the organization and the fans that the expectation is to win at all costs. They made the move they felt was necessary to be the most successful.
He is a smart, hard worker, who can pick up the playbook quickly
In numerous articles, past coaches, teammates, and fans have discussed the work ethic of Sam Bradford. They talk about how much time he puts into being the best he can be on the field. He had a 3.95 GPA at Oklahoma and is known for being a smart individual. He has less than a week to pick up the playbook and it is hard to imagine he won't make it happen. Bradford has the intelligence to pull it off. I think he will be ready for the first game against Tennessee. If he knows a few passing plays, all he has to do is hand it to Adrian Peterson. It really is that easy, right?