Rick Spielman said that the Minnesota Vikings were going to do something about their quarterback situation. He certainly made good on his word.
On Saturday morning, the Vikings agreed to send a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for quarterback Sam Bradford, a former #1 overall pick.
It’s taking me a little bit of time to process what all of this means, to be honest. Of all the roads that I thought this team could potentially go down to solve the problem caused by Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury earlier this week, this is certainly not one that I expected to see them go down.
So, what does this mean?
Well, the first thing it means is that the Vikings are certainly not planning on punting the 2016 season after Bridgewater’s injury. For them to give up the level of compensation that they did for Bradford signals that they think the rest of this roster is solid enough to win now, and they’re going to go for it. They’re right. . .this is one of the best and deepest rosters in the NFL. This team was a Super Bowl contender before the Bridgewater injury. . .does the acquisition of Sam Bradford put them back at that level? It might. . .but I think it puts them closer than rolling into a season with Shaun Hill does, in my opinion. I know Hill is the grizzled veteran and everything, but he’s a career backup, for the most part.
But, in my opinion, there’s a bigger takeaway to glean from this, and it concerns Bridgewater. We heard about how horrific his knee injury was and what the recovery time is. While the team appears to be putting a brave face on it in public, to me this sort of acquisition signals that this team isn’t sold on Teddy Bridgewater being ready to be their quarterback in 2017. Bradford’s contract runs through the 2017 season, and it would be really weird for Rick Spielman to give up a first-round pick for what would essentially be a one-year rental. If you weren’t worried about Bridgewater’s status before now. . .it might be time to start.
The injury Teddy Bridgewater suffered is not a minor one. A lot of the estimates have the rehab time for such an injury at 12 months, which would mean that he would not be ready for the start of the 2017 season. At this point, I would imagine that the best case scenario for Bridgewater would be to start 2017 on the Physically Unable to Perform List and see how things progress into the early part of the 2017 season. Meanwhile, the Vikings continue to start Bradford at quarterback, and they clearly like Taylor Heinicke (as long as he can stop kicking down doors). Ideally, Bradford and Heinicke are your top two quarterbacks in 2017 while Bridgewater continues to work his way back.
Frankly, this means that Bridgewater can fully rehab things without having to worry about rushing back in time for 2017. Hopefully Bridgewater makes a full recovery and comes back strong whenever he does return, but the Vikings now have a contingency plan in place that allows him to not have to rush things, which is more important.
There are probably considerably more angles to consider when it comes to this particular trade, and we’ll go through them over the next couple of days. However, I don’t see this as a bad move whatsoever. It will be interesting to see how Bradford does in this offense, but this might be the most talented offense he’s ever been a part of.
The complexion of this season has changed a lot over the course of the past week, folks. . .and here you thought things were going to be dull.