The folks from over at The Viking Age suggested this idea in a post they did yesterday, and it’s something that I think merits some actual discussion, so I’ll present it over here, too.
On Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings have very little to play for when they host their division rivals, the Chicago Bears. Sure, there’s the opportunity to get one or two receivers over the 1,000-yard mark for the season and dodging the ignominy of becoming the first team in NFL history to finish the season with a losing record after a 5-0 start. Other than that, however, there’s really nothing of importance to play for on Sunday.
In my opinion, this means that a lot of younger players that haven’t seen a lot of action this season should get some opportunities to show their stuff. Players like Laquon Treadwell (depending on his injury status), Rashod Hill, C.J. Ham, and Toby Johnson should be given every opportunity to see whether or not they are deserving of a bigger role in 2017.
One player that could certainly use that sort of opportunity is quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Heinicke was expected to challenge Shaun Hill in training camp for the right to be the primary backup Teddy Bridgewater this season, but showed up to camp with his foot in a cast after he picked a fight with a door. . .and lost. With Bridgewater’s status for next year being uncertain at best and Hill much closer to retirement age than to the prime of his career, it might behoove the Vikings to get Heinicke some action in an actual game, even if it is one that could wind up looking like a glorified preseason contest.
To do that, however, the Vikings would have to sit Sam Bradford on the bench. Given what happened last week in the National Football League, that might not be the worst idea. Two teams lost prominent quarterbacks to serious injuries in Week 16, as Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans both suffered broken legs in their games. They’ll both, obviously, miss the remainder of this season, and though it sounds like they’ll both be ready for the start of the 2017 season, it does present a case for Bradford to sit down for Week 17.
After all, Bradford has already torn an ACL twice in his career. If the worst were to happen in this case and it happened again, it would then put Bradford’s status for the start of the 2017 in doubt, and then the Vikings’ quarterback situation would be an even bigger mess. As much as people might want to gnash their teeth and rend their garments about it, Bradford is likely this team’s starting quarterback next season, barring a miraculous recovery by Bridgewater, and the team could ill-afford to lose him with that being the case.
I’m not sure if I’m 100% on board with this idea at this point, but I do think that Heinicke should get some sort of playing time in Sunday’s contest. If the Vikings think highly enough of him to make him their backup to either Bradford or Bridgewater going forward, then he needs to get into a live-fire situation and show what he can do.
What do you think about this one, folks? Do you think the Vikings should sit Sam Bradford for the season finale on Sunday?