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What does the future hold for Sam Bradford?

Quarterback Sam Bradford practiced this week for the first time since exiting the Minnesota Vikings’ Week 5 matchup against the Chicago Bears.

In between, he met with different doctors, underwent surgery and rehabbed with trainer Eric Sugarman to prepare for a potential return.

“These past couple of weeks we’ve tried to simulate as much of a practice as we could,” Bradford said Wednesday. “I felt very confident going into these practices that it would feel good and I think it responded well after yesterday.”

Bradford had an impressive start to the season, going 25-for-32 with 346 yards and three touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints. But a non-contact injury effectively ended his regular season, leaving him to wonder what could have been under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and with a solid offensive line and skilled group of receivers and running backs.

“Mentally for me it was tough,” Bradford said. “Going through another injury, having gone through it twice before with this knee, it was just really frustrating. But I’ve been working extremely hard to get back out there…to practice again these last two days has been really encouraging to me mentally.”

More likely than not, Teddy Bridgewater will act as Case Keenum’s backup as the Vikings head into the playoffs. Bradford would only say that he’s taking it a “day at a time” when asked whether he would be prepared to appear in a game. Bridgewater has been practicing since October and has not appeared on the injury report since then.

Coming back to practice will help Bradford’s case as he enters free agency. Here are his potential options for 2018:

Re-sign with the Vikings

The door is wide open for almost any scenario with the Vikings’ projected starter for 2018. Bradford could sign a one-year deal with the Vikings and enter next year as either the backup QB or go into training camp with a chance to win a starting job.  Bradford could either be the No. 2 or 1B to Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, another free agent or even a rookie quarterback.

While his past injuries would be a concern, Bradford would be the best backup quarterback in the NFL. As a Viking, he’s posted a 101.1 rating and thrown 23 touchdowns, five interceptions and completed 71.8 percent of his passes.

The Vikings couldn’t go into 2018 without another starting-level quarterback, but bringing Bradford back would give him the opportunity to win the job and maximize his potential. With an impressive supporting cast already and Dalvin Cook returning next year from an ACL injury, it’s plausible the Vikings’ offense will be even better.

Of course, the only way Bradford would agree to staying in Minnesota would be if no other team will make him their starting QB.

Follow Pat Shurmur 

It isn’t a complete certainty that Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will find a head coaching job, but as more teams interview him (Detroit, Chicago, Arizona and New York Giants already on the list), it appears more likely that he will be elsewhere next season.

Shurmur and Bradford have a strong relationship. They worked together in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Minnesota. Bradford has repeatedly praised Shurmur’s ability to maximize his players’ strengths. With a high level of accuracy on short and deep passes, Bradford is built to be a strong West Coast quarterback.

If the Vikings’ OC ends up in a place that does not have a franchise QB like Arizona, he could bring Bradford along and look to compete in Year 1. Or if Shurmur landed with Chicago or a team that was drafting a QB this year, Bradford could make for a good No. 2 option to help the young quarterback understand Shurmur’s philosophies.

Compete for a job elsewhere

There are a number of teams with unclear quarterback futures. You could envision the following teams having a different quarterback next year:  Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts (Pending Andrew Luck’s health), Denver Broncos, Washington, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals.

With less supply than demand, it seems Bradford will receive a high number of phone calls during the offseason. Most of those teams would be unwilling to make him the lock-dead No. 1 QB, but he might compete with a top draft pick QB like Sam Darnold in Cleveland or Josh Rosen in New York.

Retirement

If Bradford’s knee doesn’t respond and he’s forced to walk away, he will go down as one of the all-time what-could-have-been quarterbacks. When he was in St. Louis, the Rams had very poor supporting casts, then in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly traded his two best players LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. And then in Minnesota, the team finally builds a strong roster and he’s forced to watch Case Keenum lead the team to a 13-3 record.

The 2018 season will determine whether he becomes a full-time starter again.

  • Cman

    Having two ACL tears to the same knee, then reinjuring the same knee on a non contact play, I doubt any team will sign him long term.

    If they don’t resign Keenum, I can see them offering Bradford a lower one year deal to compete with whoever we sign or retain. Sloter is tall, and has a very good arm, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him competing for the starting job next year after learning the offense this year.

    I think the Vikes are gonna want a QB on the level of Keenum, Cousins, or someone like that. I hope we keep Shurmur as OC, and if we do, I can see them resigning Keenum and/or Bradford and allowing Bridgewater to leave and have Sloter be the backup or 3rd QB.

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  • Golden Groper

    I really think Sam is a goner because someone else will assume the risks and overpay for him. The same could be said about Teddy. The team could give Case part of the Bradford contract and sign another back up QB with the remainder of Sam’s $18 mil. They can then push Sloter along and draft a project QB in the later rounds. Some might think that the team is under threat because no QBs are under contract, but the reality is that the team is in a very strong position wrt QBs because the team holds all the cards.

    • Gordon Guffey

      I dont know how this all plays out ~ And I can not say you are wrong in your view ~ But one thing is for sure ~ Something ((( dont know what ))) is going to happen at QB in the 2018 offseason ~ LOL

      • Jeeves

        Really going out on a limb there, aren’t you good buddy!
        SKOL!

    • gagu

      Another positive is that if teams overpay our guys because of the dearth of quality QB’s available, if the system stays the same, we will pick up a couple of mid-round picks in the ’19 draft. Signing Cousins would negate a pick, though.

  • Todd Monroe

    When they get a new OC, he will help Zim decide which QB’s to keep. I would say let Bradford go, with the knee issues he is too big of a risk to keep. Keep TB and CK and let them battle it out next preseason. Pick up a QB in the draft if there is some one decent that stays around till the 3rd or 4th round. Regardless of who they keep, they will have to learn a new offensive scheme, I don’t believe that Shurmur will be there next year. Case scares me because of his past history with the Rams and Texans, has he turned the corner to become an upper tier QB, or is it Pat Shurmurs scheme that has helped him succeed? If it’s the scheme then we are probably all going to be disappointed with a new coordinator next year, only time will tell. I worry about Teddys’ knee and if it will last but if he doesn’t get to play in the playoffs (and he won’t unless Case gets hurt), he will have in 2 full years of recovery, for things to heal up 100%. Between the two I think Teddy has more upside in the long run provided he stays healthy and injury free.

    • Gordon Guffey

      I believe the Vikings will promote from within if Shurmur leaves ~ No way they let Shurmur walk away with the whole staff and his understudies have been learning for a year now ~ Some a year and a half ~ Its my understanding that ll of the guys hired back in the start of the past offseason were hand picked by Shurmur ~ I look for the offense to look much the same even if Shurmur leaves ~ One thing this offense has shown is it doesn’t matter if its Sam or Case the offense still works ~ I cant see Zimmer moving away from this offense knowing he may have to count on someone like Case in 2018 ~

      That being said I hope Shurmur somehow winds up staying with the Vikings ~

      • Todd Monroe

        I hope he does too. If he doesn’t and they promote from within that would help but everyone puts their own little spin on it, they have to try to make it their own so it might be basicly the same but sometimes a small change can can cause big problems. I hate looking so far ahead, I just hope they end this season the way I’ve always dreamed of the Vikings ending a season, SUPERBOWL CHAMPIONS!!!!! SKOL GO VIKINGS!!!!

        • Gordon Guffey

          {{{ but everyone puts their own little spin on it }}}

          I agree and understand your worry ~ However Shurmur had Zimmer in his hip pocket from the time he was given the OC job ~ I believe Zimmer repeat this with who ever gets the OC job ~ I know Zimmer has talked about spending a lot of time in the offensive meeting from the time training camp starter ~ I really dont believe Zimmer allows another Norv Turner to run his offense ~ Well that my hope ~ 🙂

      • Marc Spector

        The next OC will be Kevin Stefanski who is currently the QBs coach.

    • Clark Stewart

      I agree that the new OC and Zimmer will decide which QB to retain. My guess is that Teddy will stay and Case and Sam will be playing elsewhere next season. Plus, Teddy will probably sign a team friendly deal. I would be shocked if both Teddy and Case are on the team next season. Also, I expect the Vikings to draft a QB this year.

  • Drediock

    Shill Says
    “If Bradford’s knee doesn’t respond and he’s forced to walk away, he will
    go down as one of the all-time what-could-have-been quarterbacks. When
    he was in St. Louis, the Rams had very poor supporting casts,”
    Funny how you mention that observation with regard to Bradford but refuse to recognize it at all with Keenum.

    • Gordon Guffey

      Hey Drediock ~ What am I missing ~ ??? What does this have to do wit Case or have I once again overlooked something ~ ??? Forgive me friend 🙂

      • Jake Johnson

        He means when Case was with the Rams, Gordy. 🙂

      • Drediock

        Shill Coller mentions and excuses how Bradford had “very poor supporting casts” when he was with St Louis and the Rams. But never takes into account or mentions the “very poor supporting casts” when it comes to Keenum in Houston or the Rams. He holds other QBs to his typical different standard

        • Gordon Guffey

          Well Dredicok we are talking about Coller ~ He is by all means a Case Hater ~ I know it drove him crazy just waiting on the week that Teddy would over take Case ~ I still dont believe Teddy was 100% ready when played at the end of the Bengals game ~ Teddy looked OK but just OK ~ Skittish like he was worried about the knee ~ Hopefully Teddy fully recovers ~ I dont think Coller did or ever will LOL ~ Even now he still takes his pop shots at Case and will make excuses for anyone else on the roster for having bad games ~ Well other than Forbath who worries me too going into the playoffs ~

  • MR

    At this time I am only concerned about the upcoming playoff games. Sam Bradford, if he is physically able, should be on the active roster along with Case and Teddy for a playoff game. Coller feels that Teddy will be the backup QB for Case; this is okay, but if Case is injured and Teddy then comes in and has a physical problem, it would wise to have Sam available to come into the game.
    If Pat Shurmur leaves, hire a new coordinator who will keep Shurmur’s scheme in place. Whichever of the current Viking QBs who return in 2018 will be familiar with it.

  • Gordon Guffey

    I believe Sam is gone even if Shurmur stays ~ Just a gut feeling and nothing more and we all know what that is worth ~
    I’m just as unsure about Teddy as well ~ Maybe they keep him as a backup in 2018 while he proved his knee is 100% on the practice field ~ Then maybe give him a shot to start in 2019 ~ ??? I really dont know what to make of his game time a few weeks ago ~ While I know he was excited and all he just looked a little off ~ In the end it might be that a little off ~ Smiley Face 🙂

    Case is the only proven QB of the 3 health wise and record wise ~ And before anyone says its been the talent around him lets not forget QB’s like Brady just to name one also had talent around them as well ~ I’m am by no means saying Case is as good as Tom ~ No he isn’t no matter who they put around him ~ But Case has proven to be a QB capable of helping the talent around him win ~ Its not like the defense scored anywhere near the points needed to win weekly ~ And While Murray and McKinonn have done a outstanding job they couldn’t have done that without the OL ~ Its a team sport ~ Case has done his part to date to help this team go 13~3 ~ So what does any of this mean ~ It means nothing ~ LOL ~ Other than me thinking out loud ~

  • Matthew Rowe

    Is all the talk about Sloter because he’s tall and has a good arm? He couldn’t beat out Seimian or Lynch for a job in Denver and those guys both sucked. I’d be worried if he got into a game anytime soon. We should learn from Cousins, Brees and Keenum that big bodies and big arms aren’t needed for success in the NFL. Tyre Bears signed Glennon, Texans Osweiler, and on it goes to big money for little payback. Give Case the tag and let him keep winning here!

    • Jeeves

      Sloter didn’t play QB his first two years of college. He really only played QB his senior season as he didn’t have any stats as a junior. Broncos were waiting to put him on their PS because he still needed development, but showed obvious talent. Seems to be raw talent, much like D Hunter was. I say give him a little time.

  • Marc Spector

    The best case scenario for the Vikings is singing both Teddy, Case, and having them battle it out for the starting job. The loser will then be traded due to what I believe will be 2 hefty contracts.

  • Louis

    I’d have to let bradford walk. I am sure the Vikes will want teddy, I’d let him walk, too. I’d be looking draft, for sure, and first get case or Washington’s pending free agent cousins. Cousins doesn’t have the health issues and he might want to help us repeat. 😉
    .
    Case, if a decent contract. Cousins if it has to be big money. Take the Wyoming q.b. Allen end of rd 1. No point in trying to make one of the broken quarterbacks healthy and dependable by breaking the bank. Won’t work…..
    .
    (Might have to look at Allen’s accuracy a bit first before I lock in my thought of him rd1)

    • Theguds

      I disagree on Bradford. But ABSOLUTELY on J.Allen!! He had terrible stats this season but man does he pass the eye-test. And he slings about 80 yards…I would love to have this guy. He had a great bowl game. On a lot of his highlights I see that he was running for his life a millisecond after the ball was snapped, so that might explain party why his college stats aren’t very good at least in 2017. I think had one really good year though. Plus I think his coached like to run the ball a lot.

      • Theguds

        But as I said before I don’t think he’s be on the board at 32. I think there are rumors that Elway really likes him.

  • Theguds

    Zim and the front office would be fools to let Bradford go if his knee checks out. If Bradford says he’s feeling great and the medical evidence confirms that statement, the decision is easy. It really is that simple. Also, if Josh Allen is on the board at 32[:)] you take him as an insurance policy. But pretty sure Elway’s taking him wherever they sitting.

    Case has been spectacular this season but Bradford is the better quarterback

  • Pete

    It appears the Vikings learned a valuable lesson last year, and that is to have a capable backup so you don’t get burned in a trade or go with a bad QB like the Pukers did. If they did learn that lesson, then they very likely will attempt to keep two of the 3 QB’s with game experience for next year, Bradford, Bridgewater and Keenum, but which combination I have no clue.

    • Mark Nadolski

      Totally agree, Shaun Hill was probably the worst backup in history on the Vikes. Packers found out its important to have a capable QB for sure

      • gagu

        Hill played in a grand total of six games in 3 seasons. He has a 1-0 record, with zero turnovers and zero sacks as a starter. 18-33-236, with a 77.3 rating in a 25-16 win over Tennessee. In the other 5 games, he completed 3 of 9 passes in mop up duty. Great stats? No. Next to no stats. But he performed quite adequately for a back-up.
        Joe Webb and Spergon Wynn are two recent backups that were worse. Norm Snead stunk. But the absolute worst backup in Vikings history was Ron Vander Kelen.

        • Mark Nadolski

          yeah he hardly played at all, my point was the guy was like 42 years old or something and looked like a deer in headlights out there, I was nervous everytime he hiked the ball that he was gonna get his head taken off. Having an adequate QB seems like a necessity for teams at this point. Agree with Joe Webb comment, he wasn’t even a QB, that playoff game he started when Ponder got hurt was probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen

  • Mark Nadolski

    why does he still even wanna play? Half the time he looks uninterested out there unless he is perfectly protected in the pocket, if there is the slightest bit of pressure he folds like a cheap suit and gets injured. When he came back against the Bears he looked like he didn’t even want to be out there, Keenum saved that win. At this point I think he is milking it to make money, get paid millions to play a few games and get hurt has been his M.O. so far. Hope he is no where near the Vikings next year

    • Jim Grace

      No doubt about all of Sam’s inj history. But the folding like a cheap suit under pressure is both unfair and wrong. Last season he truly rid himself of the China Doll comparison…..I don’t think I saw a QB take a worse beating and still complete passes after taking a big shot.

      • Theguds

        Absolutely!! Ridiculous statement!! He got punched in the mouth time and time again and got back up. Also, despite having NO running game and the worst o-line in NFL history(PFF) he put great numbers. he sacked 37 times where teddy got sacked 44 times with about 100 less attempts and Teddy had the leading rusher.

        • Mark Nadolski

          Yeah I agree their o-line was terrible and in shambles last year. However, he’s just just not a physical player though and is so immobile at this point. He can’t scramble and gets the crap knocked out of him everytime he gets hit. At least Keenum and Bridgewater can avoid hits and take hits, everytime he got touched last year after the freefall from 5-0 it was a sack fumble. The majority of it was the O-line but Bradford also plays a part in that. Bridgewater was under the same pressure years back and managed to make the playoffs. Bottom line Keenum has energy and moxy, get guys fired up, Bradford is a wet blanket who has terrible body language and looks lost out there half the time. He has zero grit, he and Jay Cutler are the exact same player. both have a combined like one playoff appearance and deservedly so.

          • Mark Nadolski

            And honestly, great numbers? He definitely set the record for most meaningless 2 yard dump offs on. Every 3 and 8 was a predictable 2 yard dump off. He was just padding his completion % stats. Thank god Norv Turner is gone too

          • Drediock

            Speaking of body language.
            Bradford Im sure is a hell of a nice guy. But whenever i see him i an interview. He just has this weird look that reminds me of a prey species

  • Purple Pete

    Hi Viking fans. Just to let you all know, there a avid bunch of Vikings fans over at profootballwebsite(dot)com
    Come and join us for lively Viking banter. SKOL!





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