Does Sam Bradford Keep Vikings in Title Hunt?
Less than a week ago the Minnesota Vikings were sulking like someone had just stolen their ice cream cone.
Change of Fortune
In a way, someone did, as starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater crumbled to the practice field with a season-ending non-contact knee injury. Suddenly everyone’s favorite Super Bowl 51 sleeper was wondering how they’d get through the 2016 NFL season – let alone do so successfully.
The Minnesota brass didn’t waste much time crying over spilled milk, however, as the Vikings front office acted quickly in swinging a trade for former #1 draft pick, Sam Bradford.
Minnesota Vikings are trading for Eagles’ QB Sam Bradford, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2016
On paper, the trade for Sam Bradford naturally raises some eyebrows and comes with mixed reviews. For one, Bridgewater is supposed to be the team’s franchise passer. Trading for someone like Bradford understandably clouds that image.
In addition, the price to land Bradford – who isn’t at all a sure thing despite being in the league since 2010 – felt to be far too steep. Minnesota could have mortgaged their future (a first and fourth rounder in 2017) in order to snag a quarterback who has never yet been to the playoffs.
Bradford hasn’t just never been to the playoffs, either. Throughout his five somewhat healthy NFL seasons, he’s been an erratic passer in just about every regard – most notably when it comes to accuracy and coming up big in close games.
There is also the serious question of Bradford’s ability to stay healthy. The former Rams quarterback has twice missed massive parts of seasons due to a torn ACL and he’s also had shoulder issues in the past.
Did the Vikings just give up too much to bring in a guy who was more big name than big talent? Only time will tell, but there is absolutely an argument that Minnesota also simply didn’t have much of a choice.
Worth the Risk?
Bridgewater was done for the year with a knee injury so devastating that it not only derailed Super Bowl talk and team morale, but it could even be bad enough to negatively impact Bridgwater’s 2017 season – if not his career.
The Vikings needed a better plan moving forward. Bradford came at a hefty price, but with him the Vikings once again have stability under center and if Bridgewater isn’t ready come 2017, they may have their answer to that dilemma, as well.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 4, 2016
There is also the possibility that Bradford simply has never been in a situation where he had enough around him to succeed. He never had amazing offensive weapons when with the Rams, his coaching has always been at least questionable and he really hasn’t been healthy long enough to get any consistency going.
Back on Track
Now in Minnesota with a potential title defense and Adrian Peterson backing him, there is a solid argument that suggests Bradford’s arrival puts the Vikes right back in the Super Bowl 51 conversation. Even if it doesn’t, NFL bettors may not want to sour so badly on Minnesota as an NFC North threat.
The Sam Bradford trade makes it clear: The Vikings think their championship window is right now https://t.co/GDfRHpB3BG
— The Ringer (@ringer) September 4, 2016
Needless to say, we don’t know yet if Bradford will be a good fit or do enough to give the Vikings a boost. He does have more experience than Bridgewater did, however, so if Bradford is destined to ever do anything of real merit in the NFL, he could finally be where he’s supposed to be to make that happen.
The crazy thing is the Sam Bradford trade isn’t just about the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, it is potentially a huge vote of confidence for rookie passer Carson Wentz, who may now be thrist into the starting job in Philadelphia.
Veteran journeyman Chase Daniel could also factor into the mix, but this could be Wentz’s job to lose. The raw D-II passer still has to work through a ribs injury and officially earn the job, but the Bradford trade could be the writing on the wall that it’s now his to lose.
Naturally, Bradford’s loss could hurt the Eagles in terms of their ability to win the NFC East division or seriously think about a playoff run. Wentz just isn’t polished or experienced enough to expect much from in his first season, and the same can really be said of Daniel, as well.
With this move, the Eagles get to their future faster and bring in two very nice picks that will help the Doug Pederson era go a lot more smoothly. It just isn’t likely to equate to winning in 2016 for the Eagles.
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