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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings GM Spielman: Bradford contract key in trade

By Matthew Coller

On a conference call Saturday evening, Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman gave a window into the team’s confidence that Teddy Bridgewater will be ready to start in 2017 by acknowledging Sam Bradford’s two-year contract was an important element of the team’s trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“To be honest, it played a huge part in this deal,” Spielman said. “Teddy [Bridgewater] has to get his surgery and go through his rehab – and I think everybody knows how we feel about Teddy – but to me it was just too unique of an opportunity the caliber of player at that position like Sam Bradford…going into next year we have two very talented quarterbacks.”

When Spielman spoke to the media before Thursday’s preseason victory over the Los Angeles Rams, he said the team would not be willing to give up assets that would damage the future outlook in order to acquire a quarterback. On Saturday, he said the Vikings did not sacrifice their down-the-road potential by giving up a first-round pick.

“When we talk about mortgaging the future, that is absolutely not the case here,” Spielman said. “One, because of amount of draft picks we have and two, a lot of the teams that I’ve spoken with [were asking] for some of our younger players who are Pro Bowlers or significant players on this roster.”

Along with the first-round pick, the Vikings sent a 2018 pick that can reportedly go from a fourth to a second, depending on how the team performs.

Spielman said he gathered the Vikings’ staff on Tuesday night – just hours after Bridgewater’s knee injury – and began searching for another quarterback.

After making phone calls through Wednesday and Thursday, Spielman said he felt there was a “slim chance” of being able to acquire Bradford. One of the issues for both sides was the time constraint of the season starting in one week.

“I understand that this is not a normal transaction period. We had a 24 hour period to get this done,” Spielman said. “It’s different than in the offseason and say you are making a trade in the free agency period or at the draft where you have time to get through all this stuff, you have time to negotiate. Both teams were in difficult situations. Howie [Roseman] and the organization had to make a very difficult decision about giving up a player of Sam Bradford’s caliber and we had to make a decision on what gives us the best chance to win.”

Before making the deal, the Vikings’ GM and his front office staff watched every game from Bradford last season and every preseason game. Spielman said former Rams and Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who worked with Bradford on both teams, played a major role in acquiring Philadelphia’s quarterback.

Shurmur’s insight bolstered an already-high opinion of Bradford in Spielman’s mind.

“I think Sam is a big quarterback, a very accurate thrower, he does a great job getting through his reads and progressions, and he can throw the deep ball down the field,” the Minnesota GM said. “Some of the routes that we use, we see him completing the same balls that he will have to [complete] in this system. I scouted him when he came out even though he was the No. 1 overall pick and I’ve always been a big fan of Sam Bradford.”

Another box the Vikings had to check before completing the deal for Bradford was that he is 100 percent medically. The former No. 1 overall pick missed the entire 2014 season with a knee injury.

“I think we have great team doctors and they were able to look over all the medical information and look at the MRI’s and felt very comfortable with the decision,” Spielman said.

The move carries risk because of the picks going to Philadelphia, but the Vikings’ cap situation will not be a concern as Eagles will reportedly pay $11 million of Bradford’s salary.

Bradford was straight-laced during his conference call when asked about his time in Philadelphia, but he showed frustration with the Eagles’ organization for drafting Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick. He was mocked for his 15-day, message-sending holdout. He also demanded to be traded, but vowed to focus on being the Eagles’ starter after he was not dealt before camp.

“Things have changed quite a bit since I signed that contract in March, but all I can say is that I’m excited to be in Minnesota.”

The former No. 1 pick of the Rams expressed his sympathy for Bridgewater in an interview with Vikings.com.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Teddy,” he said. “It was something that I can relate to. I’ve been there. I’ve gone down that road. Hearing what I’ve heard about him, I know he’s going to attack his rehab and be back in no time.”

The post Vikings GM Spielman: Bradford contract key in trade appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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