There has been a lot of speculation over who the starting quarterback will be when the Minnesota Vikings take the field against the Tennessee Titans to open the 2016 season on Sunday. Would it be Shaun Hill, the veteran career backup with a better familiarity with the offense, or Sam Bradford, the QB acquired less than a week ago from Philadelphia?
Mike Zimmer has remained tight-lipped about the situation and the team hasn’t made an official announcement yet, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Vikings players have been informed of the deicison:
The #Vikings players were informed QB Shaun Hill is expected to start this week, sources say. The team hasn’t made a formal announcement.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 9, 2016
On one hand, this is a bit of a surprise because the Vikings gave up such a ransom for Bradford and he has some familiarity with Norv Turner’s style of offense. I personally thought Bradford would be the Week 1 starter and predicted as much in my Week 1 preview.
On the other hand, it’s understandable that the Vikings didn’t want to rush Bradford in after only joining the team six days ago. We all know how rushing Josh Freeman into the starting role panned out a few years back. Hill has a much better grasp of the offense and is a lesser risk to alter a game plan that was probably already on the run-heavy and conservative side. Plus if Hill struggles and needs to be pulled, it’s much easier optics-wise to replace him with Bradford than the other way around.
I would suspect that unless there’s an injury or the wheels completely fall off (or Rapoport’s report is incorrect), Hill will play the entire game against the Titans and the team will reassess the situation heading into their crucial home opener on Sunday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2.
If the team makes an official announcement before Sunday, we’ll update this story with more information.