After this week’s scare at the quarterback position the Vikings are in another dilemma with their long term plan.
Sam Bradford was inactive against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to swelling in the knee in which he has undergone two previous ACL repairs. Bradford attempted to test out his knee prior to the game but it quickly became clear he would not be able to play.
It should be noted that the Vikings are playing the long game and are rightfully being patient with making any moves . Letting the season play out is the best option at this point. More importantly though, how will this affect the Vikings moving forward? As is his custom, Mike Zimmer was very coy about Bradford’s injury. Zimmer’s post-game press conference didn’t reveal much and he was obviously emotional after the loss. The Vikings organization knew there was a chance that a nearly 30-year old player with two ACL injuries might have some lingering issues. This is even more alarming because the issue could affect Bradford’s plant leg which would reduce accuracy.
This becomes a conversation of how reliable are Bradford’s knees now? Even if the swelling issue is only a one week issue, can the Vikings extend Bradford knowing this problem could return at any time? The likelihood is that his knees will only get worse with age and wear and tear. What happens when the Vikings are in playoff or Superbowl contention and this knee issue becomes a reason he misses time? If the Vikings extend Bradford they would have to build in some loop holes to protect themselves.
Enter Teddy Bridgewater who is coming off one of the worst knee injuries a player could have. A report from NFL Insider Ian Rappaport said that Bridgewater will be ready to play midseason. The problem is Bridgewater has not played football in almost a year, and by the time he is ready to return will he be able to perform well enough to help the Vikings? For a guy who has yet to take a live hit or gain familiarity within Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense throwing Bridgewater into the fire and asking him to lead the Vikings would not be fair to him. Bridgewater could also suffer from knee related issues later.
In all seriousness, the Vikings should look to draft another quarterback high in the 2018 draft. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman can sell to ownership that he will need more time due to the quarterback he drafted had a catastrophic injury. Using a first or second round pick is tough for an organization, but it is something the Vikings need to do. Drafting a quarterback high doesn’t stop the Vikings from seeing what they still have in Bradford or Bridgewater, but it eliminates the risk of a quarterback battle between players coming off injury.
Drafting a quarterback would extend the life of Mike Zimmer’s defense, which is crucial because there are a few key pieces that need to be extended. The plan would allow the Vikings to see if they have a new potential starter with higher upside, while still maintaining a high caliber starter. Again, this is all built on the idea that Bradford issue is a lingering issue, but regardless a contingency should be built.