Luck is a factor, no matter how good the planning is. The Minnesota Vikings were unlucky to need a starting quarterback so close to the new season beginning. They had to overpay for Sam Bradford, but there was no other way.
Despite Teddy Bridgewater tearing all kinds of ‘CLs in his knee, which makes the Vikings wonder whether he’ll be out for more than just the 2016 NFL season, and if he’s ever going to be a franchise quarterback for them again, Minnesota decided not to let their hopes and expectations fall on the relatively untested shoulders of Shaun Hill. They made calls around the league about veteran quarterbacks, and ended up taking Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles, giving up a first round pick in 2017, and a conditional fourth round pick, which could end up being a second round pick in 2018.
Rick Spielman, the team’s general manager, has been making the rounds among radio and TV shows, explaining the thought process behind this move. Some prematurely suggested the Vikings were sacrificing their future for Bradford, who has rarely been healthy for a full season, although has produced decent numbers when he’s had good protection, and if it wasn’t for Eagles receivers dropping more passes than anyone else in the league last season, could have come out of 2015 with an actual aura of success.
The logic behind bringing Bradford is clear: The Vikings have been building for the last three years towards making a Super Bowl run. They returned to the playoffs last season and would have made the divisional round if it wasn’t for Blair Walsh missing an easy field goal kick. This season, with Bridgewater entering year 3 of his NFL career, they aimed to challenge for the number one spot in the NFC, and take the team to the Super Bowl. Teams around the NFL knew the Vikings were desperate when phone calls from Spielman came.
I made a bunch of calls. I am not gonna mention teams. But there was blood in the water and teams knew it. The price was too high. I didn’t want to mortgage our future. Some teams asked for a first-round pick and a core young player. I can understand the pick. But we worked too hard over the past three years to put all that time and energy into drafting and developing a solid core of this team. I was taken aback who they were asking for. Players who’d been in the Pro Bowl. I mean, in the off-season you’ve got time. There’s not blood in the water in the off-season. But now there was.
The Vikings open the season on the road, playing the Tennessee Titans. They’ll actually be playing the Philadelphia Eagles on the road in week 7, following a bye week, which could mark a return for Bradford to his former team, if he’ll actually play (there are those suggesting Shaun Hill will start until Bradford is more comfortable with the playbook). There will be no game against the Los Angeles Rams, the franchise Bradford played for (when he was actually healthy) from 2010 through 2014.