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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Surprised by Vikings trade for Bradford? You shouldn’t have been

By Judd Zulgad

Rick Spielman’s decision to trade for Sam Bradford – a move that came four days after the Vikings lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for at least this season – was met with approval from many.

Finding a starting-caliber quarterback only eight days before the regular season might be the first chapter in that book Spielman has been threatening to write.

However, there remains a portion of the Vikings’ fan base who aren’t happy the general manager gave up a first-round pick in 2017, and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 that reportedly will be a third-rounder if the Vikings make the playoffs and a second-rounder if they advance to the Super Bowl.

This angst is remarkable considering one alternative was having 36-year-old Shaun Hill as your starting quarterback in the first year in a $1.1 billion stadium. Try selling that to a fan base paying big prices.

The common refrain from the critics has gone something like this. “How can Spielman deal a first-round draft choice for Bradford? The guy has been a disappointment and never delivered on the promise he had as the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft. This is just the latest in a long line of quarterback missteps.”

While we will have to wait and see how Bradford performs in 2016, those who are upset with Spielman haven’t been paying attention to how the Vikings have done business since Zygi Wilf purchased the franchise in 2005.

This trade, and the price Spielman paid, should come as no surprise. In many ways, the Vikings under Wilf have been the anti-Twins. The Twins have been criticized through the years for not being aggressive enough and being unwilling to make potentially risky moves that have a chance to backfire.

When the Vikings see the window open, they often don’t hesitate to pounce. This was a franchise that was more than willing to risk tampering charges from the Packers in its pursuit of Brett Favre in 2008 – the Vikings were cleared in that case – and then paid the quarterback $12 million during a 2009 season in which Minnesota made a run to the NFC title game.

The following season the Vikings again were able to lure Favre back for $16.5 million during a year in which the franchise fell flat on its face and finished with a 6-10 record.

Many will say that the Favre gamble was well worth it because it cost the team nothing in compensation going to another club. But the willingness to pay the aging Favre so much money was an indication that Wilf will go along with what the front office feels gives the team the best chance to win, even if there is a potential downside.

Here are two prime examples of the Vikings’ willingness to go all in when the opportunity was presented:

The Jared Allen trade

When: April 22, 2008

What it cost: The Chiefs dealt Allen and a sixth-round pick (which became center John Sullivan) in 2008 to the Vikings for the No. 17 overall pick, two third-round picks and a sixth-round selection. The Chiefs turned the picks into tackle Branden Albert, running back Jamaal Charles, safety DaJuan Morgan and wide receiver Kevin Robinson.

The skinny: The Vikings had finished 8-8 in 2007, their second season under Brad Childress, and were in desperate need of a pass-rushing right end who could get to the quarterback and make their Tampa-2 defense successful.

Allen had gone through off-the-field issues in Kansas City and was unhappy with the Chiefs. The Vikings signed Allen to a six-year, $72.36 million contract that included a $15.5 million signing bonus and then announced the acquisition.

It was a massive investment but proved to be well worth it. Allen had 14.5 sacks in each of his first two seasons in Minnesota and the Vikings went to the NFC championship game in his second year with the team. Remarkably, Allen never missed a start in six seasons with the Vikings and recorded double-digit sacks in each.

The trade worked out for the Chiefs as well. Albert was moved from guard to tackle when he entered the NFL and became a Pro Bowl player. He spent six years in Kansas City before signing a five-year, $47 million deal with the Miami Dolphins in March 2014.

Charles, meanwhile, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in five of his eight years with the Chiefs. He remains with the franchise and is attempting to return from a torn ACL in his right knee.

Morgan (2008-09) and Robinson (2008) had brief stints with the Chiefs before departing.

The verdict: A win for both teams and a trade the Vikings would make again.

The Randy Moss trade

When: Oct. 6, 2010

What it cost: The Patriots dealt Moss and a 2012 seventh-round pick to the Vikings for a third-round pick in the 2011 draft. That selection was used on quarterback Ryan Mallett.

The skinny: The Vikings made this trade because wide receiver Sidney Rice, who had turned into Favre’s favorite target in 2009, was sidelined with a hip issue that would sideline him for much of 2010 and a potential deal with San Diego for disgruntled wide receiver Vincent Jackson had fallen through.

The Vikings were desperate and Moss was available, creating a reunion that turned into a nightmare. Moss wasn’t the player that Vikings fans remembered watching from 1998 through 2004 and Childress didn’t have the ability to control the veteran.

Moss caught 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in four games with the Vikings before Childress decided to surprise everyone, including ownership, and release him following a loss in New England.

It was after that game that Moss decided to hold his own press conference and talk about how much he admired Bill Belichick and the Patriots. After arriving in the locker room following that game, Moss also informed members of ownership that Childress wasn’t fit to coach the Vikings. Only he did it with some very creative language.

This didn’t sit well with Childress and the decision to release Moss played a role in Childress being fired less than a month later.

The verdict: After being so close to the Super Bowl in 2009, and bringing back so many players from that team, the Vikings felt they had to get a receiver for Favre. Moss turned out to be a terrible fit, but if Spielman hadn’t tried to get someone to replace Rice the Vikings would have been heavily criticized. Say this for the 2010 Vikings: Everything that could have gone wrong did.

So now we must wait and see how the Bradford trade plays out. Bradford comes to Minnesota having played all 16 games only twice in six years, he missed the entire 2014 season after re-tearing his left ACL, and carrying a 25-37-1 record.

Bradford hasn’t come anywhere near turning himself into the player the Rams hoped they were getting in 2010 and the Eagles are likely very happy with the deal they got for him.

But when you consider many of the substandard names that were being thrown out a week ago after Bridgewater crumpled to the turf at Winter Park with a dislocated left knee and torn ACL, Bradford has to be considered a good get for an organization that can’t be accused of standing still when it sees an opportunity.

The post Zulgad: Surprised by Vikings trade for Bradford? You shouldn’t have been appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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