Since the Minnesota Vikings made the trade for quarterback Sam Bradford just before the start of the 2016 NFL season, there have been a lot of detractors. Many of those detractors have cited the impending quarterback controversy that could result from having Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater on the team at the same time, given the upward trajectory that Bridgewater appeared to be on prior to his terrible knee injury.
According to at least one report, if that quarterback battle is going to materialize, it isn’t going to happen until 2018 at the earliest.
Bleacher Report NFL insider Jason Cole is reporting that doctors have told him that the most optimistic time frame for recovering from an injury like the one Bridgewater suffered is nineteen months. Based upon that time frame, the earliest that Bridgewater would be ready to go again would be around March of 2018, meaning that he would be in line to miss the entire 2017 season.
Bridgewater suffered a gruesome non-contact knee injury in the team’s final practice of the preseason. The word was circulating that he could have lost at least part of his leg had it not been for the quick actions of Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman™ and the rest of his staff. There were some optimistic estimates that had him coming back “sometime” in 2017, but if Cole’s reporting is accurate, that appears to be wildly optimistic.
As I’ve speculated many times in the past in this space, I have a feeling that the Vikings knew that this was the sort of time frame that they were looking at not long after Bridgewater suffered the injury, and made the trade for Bradford knowing that he was going to be their quarterback not just for 2016, but for 2017 as well. If Rick Spielman had even the slightest inkling that Bridgewater was going to be returning in 2017, I don’t think he makes the Bradford trade. I’ve said that from the beginning. People that are basing the “success” of this trade based on just the 2016 season are, quite frankly, incredibly ignorant.
But, it appears that Bradford is going to be the guy going forward, and it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Taylor Heinicke is going to be his backup, provided that he can stop losing fights with doors. The team could also use a mid-round pick on a rookie that they can attempt to develop if Bridgewater isn’t going to be taking up a roster spot.
The Vikings have to make a decision on Bridgewater’s fifth-year option just after the 2017 NFL Draft concludes. I’m not sure how (or even if) being on the PUP list for the entire 2017 season (which is what I’m sure would happen) would affect that. Hopefully we can find that information in the near future.
Unfortunately, whatever plans the Minnesota Vikings are making for the 2017 NFL season, it doesn’t sound like those plans are going to include one Theodore Edmond Bridgewater III. And that’s a damn shame. Here’s hoping that he continues to make progress in his rehab.