When Minnesota pulled the itchy trigger and traded away a 1st rd and a flexible 4th round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles – many fans were left either happy, sad, shocked, or angry. It was a trade that left some shaking their heads in surprise or relief. And it left others shaking their heads and pumping their fists thinking “we have a chance!”
Teddy Bridgewater looked really good during the preseason – and behind that new and massively improved Oline – it was stirring up quite the buzz. Teddy had the demeanor and the leadership to be ready to lead the team to their division title defense. Then the unthinkable happened – a non contact knee injury. Always what any fan dreads to hear about a player on their team – especially a popular player that is so well loved as Teddy says our top sports expert.
When Bridgewater went down with his horrific knee injury Vikings fans hearts dropped into the dark, shadowy space on the cellar. It was a cold and damp place – that held no thoughts of any light coming in to save the situation that was quickly dropping on what was expected to be a promising season. Teddy was a QB bringing future and hope. He brought a coolness and charisma which alone gave many fans a calming feeling when he took the field. But, if realistically looking at things strictly numerically and production value, after 2 seasons and 28 starts – he still hadn’t thrown the games that some fans waited for and still hadn’t had that defining game yet. In a world where everything is so quickly judged by a judgmental and forgetful eye – these are number that have to be dissected in regards to the move that took place.
The Sam Bradford trade suddenly comes into play and some are hesitant to say it was a good move.
Any fan who looks at the Minnesota Vikings team and thinks that 36 yr old Shaun Hill was going to lead this team was going to bring any semblance of fear to opponents in 2016 – they are living in a world of jellybeans and root beer. It’s simply not reality. Shaun Hill with his career 49 TDs passes – has been reliable, and a serviceable backup, at best over his long and lengthy career. And he played serviceable in his last game vs the Titans. But Hill was never thought of as being the guy who was going to take the reigns as the commander on the field for Minnesota. names popped up, Sanchez, McCarron, Vick were all names in the rumormill. Sanchez is a turnover waiting to happen, McCarron is good, but still learning, Vick’s legend is bigger than his actual QB play.
Bradford may not have been the monster QB during his 5 year career, after his 88 passing TD career coming out of Oklahoma. But let’s play with the numbers that he brings to a team that was desperate to keep their team alive. Over his first 2 seasons, Bradford had thrown for 24 TDs and had thrown for over around 218 YDs / game. Teddy in the same time-span of his first 2 season has thrown 28 TDs and around 212 / game. As well as the fact, that both have been accurate passers, Teddy a bit more so – but Teddy also doesn’t shove the ball downfield as much as Sam does. Over the last 2 seasons – Sam has put up 33 TDs and around 255 YDs/game in the air. Isn’t that kind of what Vikings fans have wanted to see? The ball moving downfield more? They will see that in 2016 – to what extent of success we don’t know but it will get downfield.
The brass in Minnesota made some big time plays to make sure this team stays relevant. And to me, that shows more courage and fight than just accepting defeat and having their aging future HoF’er taking on 10 in the box every week – like it would have been – with Shaun Hill behind center. No one, absolutely no one was ever going to be concerned about Hill throwing for 300 YDs on them, Bradford has a dozen games of 300 or more. He has the arm to toss it around some – he will keep defenses honest. And will force them to cheat in the secondary. Adrian Peterson is going to have more room to run again.
The Vikings may not have quite the exact team they had been waiting for, this 2016 season. Heading into the new US Bank Stadium – but they still have a top notch defense, which showed up big time when playing Tennessee, that allowed only 18.9 ppg and had excellent Dline play across the board in 2015. And they have a QB who numerically only has to fill in 14 passing TDs and 210 YDs on the field, to play equivalent to Teddy last season. Sam Bradford can and will do just that – and more. Minnesota is going to be ok with this hold-over for, when and if, Teddy returns.
Minnesota showed numerous things with this move. Firstly, they showed they aren’t folding and giving up because of their loss. Secondly, they are wisely not banking on Teddy’s return so quickly as some may have been hoping for. Thirdly, they cannot just expect that Teddy can let alone return, but still evolve into the player that Minnesota was projecting him to become. Can it all fall into place in a few years?
But Minnesota is ready for the now – and they cannot sit by idly and let time flow run by.