The Soaring Sooner that landed on a Viking Ship
Much like the injury to Teddy, I've intentionally taken a few days to think about the trade for Sam Bradford before writing about it. There are seemingly two split groups about it, those who dislike the trade and think that we over paid and those who like the trade because it strengths the quarterback group and allows for the season to once again, potentially, be a great one.
I see both sides. A first round pick is the most valuable of all draft picks. But as has been noted many times already, it's far from a guarantee that the player selected will become a success. Let's not kid around about it, if the addition of Sam Bradford helps us win some play off games and get to the NFC Championship or beyond, no one who is a Vikings fan will be complaining. There are no results on the field so people are taking the time to complain.
For my part, I don't love the addition of Sam Bradford. He has had some bad injuries over his career to this point and he's never been to the playoffs. The teams he has been a part of over the arch of time have had potential, but nearly every NFL team has that every year. They rarely produced. This is the best team he's been a part of. Even after he takes the starting reigns he will only be a piece of the puzzle. The QB in Minnesota needs to not lose games. Winning them is a bonus but whoever is receiving the snap needs to not lose the game through interceptions or fumbles. I think Bradford has the ability to fit that role.
Over the course of his career he has never once thrown more interceptions then touchdowns. His completion percentage is just a tick over 60% as well. In two less games last season and with a much more complicated situation, he threw more touchdowns (and interceptions) with a nearly identical completion %.
Him starting in week one would be a mistake. I have no interest in repeating the Josh Freeman experience with Bradford. Beyond that, it depends on his ability to learn the offense, gain comfort with the other players and with what the coaches see in practice. Week two seems too early, but beating the Packers is the top priority of the early season, so whatever it takes to make that happen should be done.
Whenever he is deemed ready to start, the clear distinction needs to remain that this is still Adrian's team. It was starting to transition to a passing offense but that needs to wait, again. For the first half of the season the offense needs to go 2012 on it and just pound #28 on every offensive series then in opportune moments make the defense pay through the air. This team is stacked and just needs the right kind of play to do big things this year. That changed somewhat with Teddy's injury but the acquisition of Bradford helps to regain what was lost. The amount of improvement from Shaun to Sam remains to be seen.
Hill has had over a calendar in the playbook which counts for a fair amount. There shouldn't be any debate over Bradford's physical ability in comparison to Hill but he just got here on Saturday, that's more time then Josh Freeman was given but is still a very short span in which to learn even a single game plan. Put Hill in against Tennessee then when the game is well in hand put Bradford in, or don't since he does have the injury history. Either way, next week he should get all the first team offensive reps in preparation for the opening.
Even that is too early in my estimation but they got the best guy and considering what they game up it will happen earlier then may be best.
What else is too early, is making a call on whether this trade was a good one or not. I don't think they could have made a better one but until the hay in the barn with some games played we just don't know. It's still very possibly a Super Bowl season...which probably means that many things will go awry to prevent it from happening but let's just let some games happen before becoming giddy again or seething about the trade.