With career backup Shaun Hill set to start in Bridgewater’s place, the Vikings were very aggressive in calling any team with a QB to trade.
Minnesota found about as good of a talent as they could’ve hoped for when Philadelphia put their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, on the table.
The price was steep, with Minnesota giving up a first-round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2018. The price may get even more expensive because the fourth-round pick could turn into a second-rounder if the Vikings win the Super Bowl and Bradford plays 80% of the snaps.
But for Minnesota, a team that wants to win now, the draft picks could be worth it if Bradford helps them advance.
As for how this affects the Vikings betting odds, GTBets had them at +360 odds of winning the NFC North. With the addition of Bradford, these odds have improved slightly to +310 as we head towards Week 1.
Bradford requested a trade shortly after the Eagles drafted North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz with their second-overall pick. No trade was made, but now his request has been fulfilled since he’s being shipped off to Minnesota.
The question now is if Bradford can help the team more than Bridgewater would’ve coming into his third season.
The top overall pick in the 2010 Draft, Bradford has never lived up to his potential due to injuries and inconsistency. But he has started every year he’s been in the league and still serves as a tantalizing talent.
In 63 career starts, Bradford has passed for 14,790 yards, 78 touchdowns, and 52 interceptions. His best season came in 2012, when he played all 16 games for the St. Louis Rams and passed for 3,702 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
He also had a decent season in Philadelphia last year, passing for 3,725 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in just 14 games.
Pat Shurmur, one of Bradford’s coaches in St. Louis and Philadelphia, and now serving as Minnesota’s tight ends coach, feels that the 28-year-old will be a great fit for Norv Turner’s Air Coryell derivative offense.
As USA Today points out, another thing the Vikings like about Bradford is that he’s under contract through 2017. Considering that Bridgewater’s injury rehab could take over a year, they’ll need a reliable QB heading into next season too.
One more perk is that the Eagles paid Bradford an $11 million signing bonus last offseason, meaning the Vikings only need to cover his $7 million base salary this year. If they decide to keep Bradford, they’ll have to pay his $4 million roster bonus next March, and $13 million ($4m guaranteed) for the 2017 season.
As for Bridgewater, Minnesota’s first-round draft choice in 2014, he’s yet to produce a season like Bradford. The 23-year-old had his best season in 2015, passing for 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.
The Vikings organization was hoping that Bridgewater would make a huge leap this year. But Bradford is the more-experienced and better quarterback at this point.
Of course he’ll have to produce to justify giving up a first-round and fourth-round draft pick. But the move makes more sense when considering that the Vikings have extra third and fourth-round selections in the 2017 NFL Draft.
But the ultimate key to trading for a veteran quarterback is running back Adrian Peterson, who’s expected to lead the offense once again. Peterson led the league with 1,485 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He’s 31 years old and there’s no telling how long he’ll continue to play at an elite level.
With Peterson still healthy and ready to help this team win, it’s clear that Minnesota didn’t want to take their chances by starting Shaun Hill, who’s 36 years old and has never started a full season.
What’s more is that the team will be playing in a new $1.1 billion stadium this year, meaning ownership didn’t want to trot out Hill in what’s expected to be an exciting season.