Sam Bradford will have eight days with his new team when the Minnesota Vikings begin the 2016 season against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. While it’s uncertain whether Bradford will go from new guy to starter in that time span, he’ll have to be ready either way.
The Vikings plan on dressing only two quarterbacks Sunday, Bradford and veteran backup Shaun Hill. Coach Mike Zimmer hasn’t made a decision on who his starter will be, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner said it doesn’t matter whether Bradford starts the game, or finishes it.
“He has to be ready to play,” Turner told the Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer. “To me, it doesn’t matter if he starts or has to go in the fourth play. He has to be able to do it. But we feel comfortable that he’ll be able to play, and we have three more days.”
Bradford was acquired by the Vikings last week after starter Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the year with a gruesome knee injury. The Vikings sent a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round selection to the Eagles, a high price for a player viewed by most as a rental.
That means Minnesota must get at least their money back, so to speak, on the hefty investment it made on the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
It’s unlikely Bradford will be much of an upgrade over Bridgewater. All the Vikings need him to do is hold down the fort and reduce the number of seven or eight-man fronts legendary running back Adrian Peterson will see. If Bradford can be competent enough to help Minnesota get back to the playoffs, then the trade would probably be viewed as a win.
Then again, if Bradford fails to grasp the system quickly and the bottom eventually falls out, the trade will be deemed a disaster.
The Vikings have brought in Bradford to help preserve their playoff hopes for a team in position to win right now. Whether Bradford gets his chance Week 1 probably will be a mystery until 1 p.m. ET Sunday.