The Vikiogns are a group that will spend a decent chunk of the offseason trying to establish its identity on offense. Here's an idea: balance.
The Vikings haven't ranked in the top 20 in both running and passing yards since 2009, when Brett Favre shared a backfield with Peterson. Since that season, one facet of the Vikings' offense has been ranked 26th or worse in the league in every year but one: 2013, when the league's most porous defense forced the Vikings to play catch-up enough that their passing game ascended all the way to 23rd.
"We were almost totally 100 percent one-dimensional, which made it extra tough for the quarterback," Zimmer said at the NFL owners meetings last week. "Teams were able to load up on us, rush the quarterback, play more coverage. I thought [Bradford] did great. He hung in there and showed his toughness. He's an extremely accurate thrower. The guys in the locker room, he developed a relationship with those guys, even though he came in [eight] days before the season, and was able to learn the system and so on."
Last year, the Vikings' 18th-ranked passing offense was their best since 2009, but they were hindered by a 32nd-ranked ground game that made their offense almost inoperable at times.
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reports that Teddy Bridgewater is expected to miss the entire 2017 season.
Related players: Sam Bradford
Coach Mike Zimmer said in his season-ending press conference that Bradford "has earned the right to be the starting quarterback" after a year during which he set a NFL single-season record with a 71.6 completion percentage. Bradford, who came to Minnesota in a trade Sept. 3 with the Philadelphia Eagles after Bridgewater dislocated his left knee and tore his ACL on Aug. 30, threw for a career-high 3,877 yards and passed for 20 touchdowns against five interceptions.
"I think Sam has played great this year," Zimmer said. "Right now all I'm worried about is Teddy getting better. He comes in here every single day, busts his rear end and I just want him to get better right now and so we'll worry about those things later. But Sam has done remarkable things this year, with all the things that he's had to do."
Bradford is signed through the 2017 season, and general manager Rick Spielman said before the season that the quarterback's contract was part of the reason the Vikings were willing to trade a first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles for Bradford. He will have a $18 million cap hit next year, with $4 million coming in a roster bonus due in March, and the Vikings will eventually have to decide whether to sign Bradford to a long-term contract. Meanwhile, Bridgewater has not talked to reporters since his injury, and declined interview requests during the Vikings' final open locker room session of the season on Monday. The Vikings said on Sept. 9 that Bridgewater had a multi-ligament reconstruction of his left knee, but have not disclosed which ligaments Bridgewater needed repaired other than his ACL.
The year that Sam Bradford has dubbed his most bizarre in the NFL also will go down as his best. The quarterback set an NFL single-season record by completing 71.6 percent of his passes. He threw for a career-high 3,877 yards, with 20 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions while playing behind eight different offensive line combinations in 15 starts.
"You always believe in yourself, and I think you always believe you can go out and play at a high level," he said. "This year, just in terms of the trade [from Philadelphia] and showing up Week 1, it's been crazy. But, it's been fun and I've enjoyed being a part of this locker room."
There seems little doubt Bradford will be a part of it in 2017, as the Vikings remain unsure of what they'll get from Teddy Bridgewater. What the Vikings will have to decide, though, is how they want to approach Bradford's long-term future. His base salary will rise to $14 million, after Bradford hit a $1 million salary escalator clause by playing more than 90 percent of the team's offensive snaps.
The Minnesota Vikings reportedly have plans to bring back the quarterback they traded away a first round pick to acquire back in September.
Apparently the quarterback’s performance this season has done enough to convince the Vikings to keep him on the roster for another year according to USA TODAY’s Tom Peliserro who tweeted: "Big bonuses due in March for two key #Vikings players. No big surprise: they plan to pay Sam Bradford's."
Peliserro cited, “people with knowledge of the team’s thinking,” as the source for the information.
The story said this report should clear up any speculation that Minnesota may try and move Bradford elsewhere before his $4 million roster bonus is due in March. The Vikings are expected to pay that and as of right now, the quarterback is scheduled to make $18 million in 2017 under the terms of his current contract.
Friday, December 16, 2016, 6:08pm
Thursday, December 15, 2016, 7:16pm
Vikings QB Sam Bradford (right shoulder) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Bradford should be able to play through the injury. He has a favorable matchup against the Colts, but it's tough to trust this passing game.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 7:07pm
The Minnesota Vikings' injury report, already well-populated with starters, now includes their quarterback.
Sam Bradford appeared on the Vikings' first injury report of the week, before their Thursday game against the Dallas Cowboys, with an ankle injury that had him limited in practice. Bradford was participating during the open portion of practice, and also took part in Sunday's practice (when the Vikings did not have to issue an injury report), but the quarterback apparently missed some of the Vikings' practice with the injury.
The story summed this situation up well: The fact Bradford didn't sit out the entire session is probably a good sign -- if the Vikings were overly worried about the injury affecting him on Thursday night, they'd likely have held him out of practice -- but Bradford's ankle is certainly worth watching between now and Thursday.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 4:28pm
Vikings OC Norv Turner has been around a while. He's been an NFL coach for the last 31 years and has spent the last 26 as either a head coach or offensive coordinator.
And yet Turner recently said Sam Bradford's vision "is as good as any QB I've ever coached."
"I just think you get excited about a guy and you make that statement," Turner said, per the Vikings' official site. "I believe it’s true. That doesn’t take away from someone else and the way they play the game. Sam, he can anticipate. He sees what’s happening out in front of people. He can relate back to you what he sees and most of the time he’s pretty accurate.”
Friday, October 7, 2016, 6:27pm
Vikings WR Stefon Diggs (groin, doubtful) missed practice all week and is doubtful for Week 5. With Diggs out, the Vikings are down to Adam Thielen (a decent PPR play), Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson as their top three receivers. It’s shaping up to be tough outing for Sam Bradford.
Friday, October 7, 2016, 6:27pm
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (rib) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week. Rudolph should be good to go. He’s locked in as an every-week TE1 given how often Sam Bradford is looking his way, though Houston (#1 in TE aFPA) is a very tough matchup.
Thursday, October 6, 2016, 6:05pm
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (rib) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Rudolph should be good to go. He’s locked in as an every-week TE1 given how often Sam Bradford is looking his way.
The Minnesota Vikings season thus far has included many things that nobody expected – Sam Bradford playing quarterback in Minnesota, for starters – but high on the list of surprises is the fact that first-round pick WR Laquon Treadwell has only been on the field for two plays in three games. He was inactive on Sunday against Carolina.
Treadwell was selected 23rd overall this April and is struggling to get playing time so far. But HC Mike Zimmer said he's biding his time - like Stefon Diggs did last year - and may be thinking too much about steps to take on each route.
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