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Zimmer: Bradford Has Earned The Right To Start

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At his season-ending press conference, Mike Zimmer sure made it sound like Sam Bradford is his starter going forward.

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

At Winter Park today, Minnesota Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer held his season-ending press conference. There were a lot of takeaways from it, and we’ll have more once we can get our hands on a transcript, but one of the bigger takeaways came from a question Zimmer was asked about the team’s quarterback situation.

If that’s the case, it sort of solidifies what some of us have been saying all along. . .that the Vikings, while generally putting a brave face on the situation in public, are certainly not counting on Teddy Bridgewater to be ready to start at quarterback at the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.

The trade that the Vikings made with Philadelphia to acquire Sam Bradford was not a one-year deal. Viewing it through such a lens is short-sighted and, quite frankly, ignorant. You don’t give away a first-round draft choice for a guy that you only anticipate being your starter for one season, and it doesn’t appear as though that’s what the Vikings have done.

Again, people will froth and foam about the Sam Bradford trade because it cost the Vikings their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but so far none of the people that seem to have an issue with this trade haven’t come up with anything resembling a viable alternative for the Vikings at the quarterback position in 2016 or 2017 without the Bradford trade.

If the team doesn’t make the Bradford trade after Bridgewater’s injury, this team has 38-year old Shaun Hill playing behind the league’s worst offensive line and nothing behind him but Joel Stave. The Vikings would have likely gone about 4-12 (at best) in that scenario, and the people that are griping about the Bradford trade would be complaining that Rick Spielman “wasted a season” by not doing something about the quarterback position.

Without the Bradford trade going forward, with the speculation pointing toward Hill’s retirement and Bridgewater (apparently) not being ready for the 2017 season, the Vikings would have nothing at quarterback but Taylor Heinicke, who has the same number of career regular season NFL snaps that I do.

“But we’d have a first round draft pick” will be the cry from those who will gleefully point out that the Vikings’ last two first-round picks haven’t exactly met expectations thus far. A first round pick to use on what? A quarterback that we need to cross our fingers and hope is ready to start as a rookie? Because there damn sure isn’t anything in the free agent pool that meets the qualification of a decent NFL starter. To trade for a quarterback that isn’t Sam Bradford? Hey, maybe they could send that first round pick to Dallas for 38-year old Tony Romo and see if he can stay healthy for five consecutive minutes.

The fact that people are still angry about the Bradford trade at this point is laughable, and is even more laughable in light of what Mike Zimmer has said about the quarterback situation in his press conference this afternoon. It certainly appears that #8 is going to be the Vikings’ starting quarterback going forward. Maybe everyone should start hoping that the Vikings can somehow elevate their level of offensive line play to “slightly below average” from its current state and put together a rushing game that isn’t the worst in team history to put alongside of him.