With the news that Sam Bradford had been traded to the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL world collectively reeled.
What in the hell are the Vikings doing? was one of the most common reactions to the trade. Not often do starting quarterbacks get traded in the NFL, and the price Minnesota gave up—a first and fourth round draft pick—was steep.
But the Vikings are built to win now. Their defense is there, and Peterson could be in the last year or two of his prime. For the Vikings to mortgage the farm to acquire Bradford, they must have some serious doubts about Bridgewater’s return.
And thus Sam Bradford is united in Sooner fraternity with Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. They didn’t play a single snap together at Oklahoma, but Bradford (as well as DeMarco Murray) redshirted in Peterson’s junior year before AD left for the NFL draft. If only Phil Loadholt hadn’t retired earlier this year.
The price wasn’t ideal, but the alternative of trotting out seasoned-yet-mediocre quarterback Shaun Hill must have seemed bad enough to convince Minny to give up such valuable assets.
It’s pretty clear that Sam is no world-beater at quarterback. However, he hasn’t been given a fair chance to succeed in his career yet. The Rams have been (and still probably are) a perennial dumpster fire, and the Eagles have done their best to rival
St. Louis Los Angeles in that category. They’re two of the more dysfunctional teams of the last five NFL seasons.
Bradford has also never had the luxury of a consistent running back to shoulder some of his workload. DeMarco Murray’s production was trampled by Chip Kelly’s system in Philly, and Ryan Mathews couldn’t stay healthy. Peterson’s transcendent running ability should take some of the pressure off of Bradford’s shoulders.
Bradford is an intelligent guy, and Norv Turner, offensive coordinator of the Vikings, is something of a quarterback whisperer. His system is complicated, though, so expect a couple weeks of run-heavy games from the Vikings while Bradford gets the playbook down.
It remains to be seen whether or not Bradford will be an improvement over Teddy Bridgewater, but there is considerable room for upside. Perhaps Bradford can showcase his considerable talents and finally realize his potential.