Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman went on a bit of a limb when he acquired quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles for a first-round and fourth-round selection.
A trade deemed by some as aggressive signified Spielman’s belief in the roster he has assembled and indicated that even without Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings are still in a “win-now” mode.
“I think we have a football team right now that has a good supporting cast around him,” Spielman told Pro Football Talk. “I don’t think Sam has ever been on a team that’s been a top-10 rushing offense in his career, so he’s not going to have to come in here and throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game.”
Spielman might not be far-fetched with that opinion, either. This is a Vikings team that surprisingly won the NFC North last season. Their transcendent, future Hall of Fame running back, Adrian Peterson, is 31 years old, and the Vikings have some pivotal defensive players nearing the twilight zone of their careers. The Vikings finished fourth in the league in rushing and defensively ranked 12th against the pass, 17th against the run, and fifth in scoring defense.
Spielman might be sacrificing the team’s long-term future, but he’s trying to make the most of a talented roster in the here and now. Whether Bradford delivers a strong return on that investment is an enormous uncertainty, however.
Bradford threw for 3,725 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 starts with the Eagles last season. While he won’t throw nearly as much as he did in coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense, that stat line might be enough to help the Vikings get to the playoffs.
And if that’s the case, the trade should still be deemed an aggressive risk, but an enormous victory for Spielman and the Vikings.