Ok this poll should be fun: who do you want under center next season for the Vikings if they are both healthy?
— Bat Flip Sports (@BatFlipSports) January 1, 2017
Sorry Twitter followers (or at least most of you), but looks like Sam Bradford is getting the nod to open the season as your Vikings quarterback next year. Here’s an excerpt from Chris Tomasson’s article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, dated Jan. 3:
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer made sure Tuesday there won’t be a quarterback controversy anytime soon.
In his season-ending news conference, Zimmer not surprisingly declared Sam Bradford as his starter. Acquired from Philadelphia after Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final preseason practice, Bradford set an NFL record with a completion percentage of 71.6.
“I think Sam has played great this year, No. 1,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback, and right now all I’m worried about is Teddy getting better. … Sam has done remarkable, the things he’s done this year with all the things that he’s had to do.”
But don’t panic, Teddy fans, this might just be hinging on Bridgewater’s health by the time the Week One kickoff comes around. Or maybe Zimmer just wanted to give an immediate answer to the question so he wouldn’t be hounded every day for months until he did. It does sound like something he’d do.
But here’s the thing. I’ll admit to you, I voted for Bradford — even with a healthy Teddy. I was happy when the Vikes traded for him. His only fault in the NFL so far was that he was injury prone, which I don’t get. In the NFL, you can’t be injury prone — you just get injured. Bradford had some tough luck in his first several years and got hurt a lot. But I didn’t take that into account, because past injuries don’t predict future ones. At least not for me for a quarterback in the NFL.
Sammy Sleeves posted the NFL record for highest single-season completion percentage. Why aren’t people more impressed by that?
Your answer: he threw four-yard passes over and over and then punted, of course he’s going to end up with a high completion rate.
My rebuttal: True, you’re absolutely right. But that’s what Bridgewater did a lot of the time, too, and he had a way better line in front of him. With how often the pocket closed in on Bradford, threatening to pancake him more than most quarterbacks in the league this year with that miserable offensive line, I’m amazed he put up the numbers he did. He kept the purple and gold in games, which is all we could ask of him. He was the MVP of the offense. Not to take anything away from Diggs and Thielen, but Bradford had a lot to do with their success. Bradford would at least look down the field before the pocket folded in on itself to force him to get rid of it. Bridgewater didn’t seem to have that deep-threat vision when I watched him last year.
To me, Bridgewater’s mobility and the fact that he wears multiple pairs of gloves every game are the only two reasons he should play over Bradford. I liked the Vikings offensive scheme this year. They spread the ball around well and, with a capable offensive line, they could’ve been serious contenders in the playoffs this year.
P.S. Let the record show, I’m not knocking Teddy Bridgewater in this article. I think is a very good quarterback, and he will improve drastically in the next few years. I believe he’ll have a very successful career in Minnesota.
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA