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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Vikings had no choice but to swing a deal for a QB like Sam Bradford

By Judd Zulgad

Forty-eight hours after losing Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman stood in the U.S. Bank and said he would not mortgage the future of the franchise by making a panic move that involved draft picks or young players.

Spielman also made it clear that potential trade partners were asking for far too much in return, knowing the Vikings were left with 36-year-old Shaun Hill as their only option at quarterback.

“We work too hard as coaches and scouts to draft guys and to develop guys to just go out and give them away for a guy who may come in for seven months and that young guy is going to be here and be a significant player for us for years to come,” Spielman said.

Spielman’s attempt calm and reasoned approach ignored the reality that the expectations for his team are significant.

The Vikings were a missed field goal away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs last season, they return a defense that many feel could be one of the best in the NFL, they have a 31-year-old running back in Adrian Peterson who is nearing the end of a brilliant career but still has his fastball and they are moving into a $1.1 billion stadium.

So with all of these pieces in place – apologies to Brett Favre – how could straight-talking coach Mike Zimmer go into the Vikings’ locker room and try to sell the fact that Hill could lead this team into the playoffs?

He couldn’t.

That’s why on Saturday the Vikings reportedly sent a 2017 first-round pick, and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2018, to Philadelphia for 28-year-old quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford was the first pick in the 2010 draft by the Rams.

It’s a steep price to pay but if the Vikings achieve the success they expect that first-round pick won’t come until late in the opening round. Vikings ownership rarely injects itself into football-related decisions but in this case it would not be surprising if they made it clear to Spielman that expectations weren’t about to be diminished.

What this move does is restore confidence that things will be OK for the Vikings. Four days ago, as Bridgewater was raced to the hospital in an ambulance with a dislocated knee, torn ACL and other damage, Vikings fans said, “Here we go again. Something is always going wrong.”

That left many of us to spend the past few days speculating about what type of bargain bin the Vikings were shopping in to try to find a replacement.

Saturday’s news will be met with far more optimism than criticism.

It also is an indication the Vikings are well aware of the fact that Bridgewater isn’t coming back anytime soon and might never be the same. Bradford, who missed part of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season after tearing his left ACL twice, could be considered the long-term fix.

Bradford was re-signed by the Eagles in March to a two-year, $35 million deal with $22 million fully guaranteed. His relationship with the Eagles, however, changed dramatically when Philadelphia drafted Carson Wentz second-overall in the draft last April.

Bradford made it clear he wanted out of Philadelphia, but that stance did not go over well, since he had just signed a rich new deal. Now, he gets a new start.

Bradford also will take over immediately as the Vikings’ starting quarterback. It’s not because he’s familiar with offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense but because his coordinator in Philadelphia last season, Pat Shurmur, is now the Vikings tight ends coach.

Don’t be fooled by that title. Shurmur is the Vikings’ co-offensive coordinator and Bradford will be given a playbook that features plenty of input from Shurmur that will be used in the Sept. 11 opener at Tennessee.

Bradford will see a familiar face in the backfield, having played at Oklahoma with Adrian Peterson for one season. Bradford and Peterson should have no issues getting on the same page.

A week ago, the sun shined brightly inside U.S. Bank Stadium as Bridgewater ran a two-minute drill to perfection and optimism abounded in the first game ever in the building. Two days later, Vikings fans wondered if all that optimism had gone down the drain before the season even began.

Saturday morning, that optimism returned. Did Spielman and the Vikings make a panicked move? Perhaps. But in this case, they felt they had no other choice.

The post Zulgad: Vikings had no choice but to swing a deal for a QB like Sam Bradford appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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