Yesterday, when talking with Neil Reynolds of Gridiron Magazine, Vikings GM Rick Spielman had a couple interesting things to say about the Vikings QB situation:
I hope, at the end of the season, that we have that difficult decision to make because it’s better to have two high-quality players at that position than to have none at all.
So say we one, so say we all.
But there are some dynamics at work here, and with training camp well underway, I think we can reasonably update the situation and figure out what’s going to happen. Or at least have a pretty good idea. Let’s break it down.
For one, Sam Bradford’s starting, and I think even the most diehard Teddy fans (cough me cough) knew that was going to happen. But let’s get something out of the way here—no one, unless you’re a complete wanker—wants something bad to happen to Sam just so Teddy can play. If you do, you’re pretty much a jackass, and fall in to the life form realm of stink bugs, mosquito swarms, and Packer fans.
And Bradford is playing really, really well so far. He looks confident, is throwing a great ball, and it feels like this is the best offense he’s had surrounding him since he came into the league. After watching him this past weekend and reading about him from folks that have been in Mankato the whole time, I’m really excited to see what he can do.
For once, I’m expecting good quarterback play, not hoping for it.
As for Teddy, the common line of thinking goes ‘well, the Vikings will just put Teddy on the PUP when the season starts, let his contract toll, and he’ll be under contract next year for cheap and the Vikings will let franchise Sam or let him walk.’
Yeah, it’s not that simple. Well, it could be. Maybe. Possibly. Possibly not. If you’ve seen any highlights from camp, there is some speculation that Teddy could be ready in as little as 4-6 weeks. To be fair, there is also speculation that he won’t be ready at all in 2017. Until the team and Bridgewater announce something definitive, it’s all speculation. Let’s look at both ends of the spectrum.
Let’s say Teddy isn’t ready in a month, and does go on the PUP. Well then, things will be fairly straightforward. His contract will toll, he’ll be under contract next year, and that’s pretty much the end of the story.
On the flip side, though, if he is cleared by team doctors to play, the VIkings won’t put him on the PUP, just to get his contract to toll. For one, that would be illegal, and he would win a labor grievance. And from a football perspective, that would be dumb. As impressive as Taylor Heinicke has been, you want Bridgewater as your number two guy behind Bradford if at all possible. After the beating Sam took last year, he went a long way in putting the ‘injury prone’ bug to bed, but injuries do happen. And having a healthy Bridgewater unavailable in the event something happened to Sam, just because you want to toll a contract, is stupid, and hurts your football team both on and the field and in the locker room.
I’m no doctor and I have no sources, but Bridgewater looks a lot closer to playing than people think. Heck, just from watching them off on the sidelines in Mankato, he looks a heck of a lot closer than Latavius Murray does, but that’s just me. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bridgewater is activated sooner rather than later, and his contract doesn’t toll.
If that happens, I have no idea what’s going to happen at the end of the season. But assuming both players are healthy I am 99% certain that one of these quarterbacks will not be with the Vikings in 2018. But that scenario sure beats the alternative of drafting a developmental QB we hope might someday work out, or scouring free agency for the next Mike Glennon.
Be careful what you wish for, Rick. Because it feels like you’re going to get it.