Sam Bradford Poised For Better Season With Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback Sam Bradford was preparing for another year with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. Even after they picked Carson Wentz with the second pick overall of the NFL Draft, Bradford was still to be the starter. Then it happened in a blink of an eye. Bradford was suddenly traded to the Minnesota Vikings just eight days before the start of the regular season after the catastrophic injury to incumbent Teddy Bridgewater.

Bradford made his first start for the Vikings in Week 2 (Shaun Hill started Week 1 as Bradford was still learning the playbook) against the Green Bay Packers and helped lead Minnesota to a 17-14 win over their NFC North rival. With a 5-0 start, everything was looking bright. Unfortunately, with injuries mounting from everywhere on the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings were not able to get back to the playoffs in 2016. But that did not prevent Bradford from having himself a year to remember.

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In his first season with the Vikings last year, Sam Bradford finally provided glimpses into why he was drafted first overall by the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams in 2010. His success in 2016 had a lot to do with having a capable arsenal of weapons to throw to on offense in Stefon Diggs, Adam Thelen, and Kyle Rudolph.

For 2017, Bradford will be expected to perform well, possibly even better. However, the pressure to carry the offense as he did in 2016 will decrease as the Vikings’ rushing attack should be much more productive this year than it was a season ago with Latavius Murray, Dalvin Cook, and Jerick McKinnon.

Bradford will also have the luxury of having the same offensive coordinator in Pat Shurmur, something he did not have while with the Rams. After Shurmur took over the Vikings’ play calling on offense in Week 9 last year due to the resignation of Norv Turner, Bradford saw an increase in his pass attempts per game, passing yards per game, and his completion percentage for the remainder of the season.

[VikingsNFL]

It took Bradford six seasons to have the type of production that he had in 2016. The quarterback finished with single-season career highs in completion percentage (71.6 percent), passing yards (3,877) and quarterback rating (99.3). Bradford’s interception percentage was the lowest of his career during a single-season as well (20 touchdowns to only FIVE interceptions).

If Bradford stays healthy (which is always a concern due to his injury history) and gets the ball in the hands of the Vikings’ playmakers, then his performance could possibly earn him a brand new contract in Minnesota after the 2017 season.

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Nick Ficorelli

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