Vikings plan to have Sam Bradford in uniform vs. Saints, report says
MINNEAPOLIS — Case Keenum will start at quarterback for the Vikings in Sunday, Jan. 14's playoff game against New Orleans, but the intriguing question is: Who will be his backup?
According to a report Friday by the Boston Globe, the Vikings plan to activate and dress out Sam Bradford, who is on injured reserve with a knee injury and hasn't played since Oct. 9. According to the report, it's unclear whether Teddy Bridgewater, the backup during the final eight weeks of the regular season, will be in uniform.
"I don't know how the Boston Globe would know because I haven't made any decisions yet," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Zimmer said Bradford is healthy enough to play. When asked if there is a possibility he could be activated and on the sideline available to play, Zimmer said, "Every question you ask, if there's a possibility, and there's always a possibility of everything."
Bridgewater wouldn't reveal who Keenum's backup will be in the divisional playoff against the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"Some things you don't talk about," he said. "We don't want to give away any tendencies to our opponents."
Since suffering a torn left ACL in August 2016, Bridgewater's only action has been two series in the fourth quarter of a 34-7 blowout win over Cincinnati on Dec. 17.
"I'm feeling great," Bridgewater said of his knee. "Yeah, I'm definitely 100 percent."
Bridgewater started the Vikings' last playoff game, a 10-9 loss to Seattle in a wild-card game Jan. 10, 2016. Could he again get more playoff action Sunday?
"It's a cool thought, but I just want us to win," Bridgewater said. "At this time of the year, it doesn't matter if it's pretty, if it's ugly, it's all about winning and how you get it done. ... You could say that (appearing in a playoff game would be another step in my recovery), but for me it's about being able to come prepared every day and be a leader among my peers. That's what it's all about."
Bradford hasn't played in a full game since throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns an an epic Week 1 performance to beat to the Saints. He injured his left knee in that game, and was out until returning Oct. 9 at Chicago. Bradford aggravated his knee against the Bears and was ineffective before being replaced late in the first half by Keenum, who has started every game since.
Bradford, who had surgeries in 2013 and 2014 to repair a torn left ACL, had arthroscopic surgery Nov. 7 on that knee and was placed on injured reserve the next day. If the Vikings activate him by Saturday's deadline, they would have to make a roster move to create a spot.
Bradford has participated in five practices since returning Jan. 2. If the Vikings advance to the Super Bowl, the last eligible day Bradford could be activated is Jan. 23.
"It's kind of hard to judge with five practices," Zimmer said. "He's working in but he's got a ways to go still. .. It's kind of hard to get reps when you're getting your starter ready, so when you've got 40 reps, and (Bradford) gets five and Bridgewater gets five, (it's difficult)."
Minnesota's third-string quarterback is Kyle Sloter, who has not been active for a game since Bridgewater was activated Nov. 8 off the physically unable to perform list. Sloter said Bradford has been impressive since returning to practice.
"He's been doing great," Sloter said. "He's working back in, getting his feet wet. They've been mixing him in and getting him some reps here and there. ... His knee looks good. There's not anything noticeable there. He looks like the old Sam Bradford."