What to do with two good quarterbacks?

MINNEAPOLIS--The Vikings have long sought a franchise quarterback. Now, they have two candidates. Teddy Bridgewater looked to be that guy until his season-ending knee injury during an Aug. 30 practice. Bridgewater has been replaced by Sam Bradfor...

MINNEAPOLIS-The Vikings have long sought a franchise quarterback. Now, they have two candidates.

Teddy Bridgewater looked to be that guy until his season-ending knee injury during an Aug. 30 practice. Bridgewater has been replaced by Sam Bradford, who could actually end up being a better fit.

"You can say what you want about Teddy Bridgewater, and this is not saying anything negative against him because I think he creates some issues for you in his ability to move around, but (the Vikings) almost look to me to be a much more efficient passing team with Sam Bradford in the pocket now," said NBC Sports Radio analyst Mark Malone, an NFL quarterback from 1980-89.

Bradford was acquired Sept. 3 from the Philadelphia Eagles for first- and fourth-round draft picks. That initially looked like a stop-gap acquisition until Bridgewater's expected return next season.

But Bradford, a seven-year veteran, has played well enough in three games for the 4-0 Vikings that it's realistic to believe he could be their quarterback for years to come. Bradford's passer rating is 105.5, well above the 88.7 Bridgewater put up in 2015, his second season.


"You have to look at the way the year plays out," said former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, who won a Super Bowl with Washington following the 1982 season. "If Sam manages to take the Vikings deep into the playoffs and he has a really, really solid year, you can't just walk in and say, 'Teddy's the quarterback.' It's the nature of our business."

Theismann pointed to several examples.

"Drew Bledsoe-Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick-Alex Smith," he said. "We see it all the time in our business. Lou Gehrig-Wally Pipp. Pick any comparison you want of the people who have been given opportunities because the other person was injured."

Brady replaced Bledsoe when he was hurt in 2001 and has led New England to victory in four Super Bowls. Kaepernick took over for an injured Smith in 2012, led San Francisco to the Super Bowl, and then Smith was traded.

Gehrig replacing Pipp is a legendary baseball tale. When Pipp was said to have a headache in 1925, Gehrig took over at first base for the New York Yankees and went on to play in a then-record 2,130 consecutive games.

Bridgewater seemed to make great strides during the offseason and in the preseason, especially with the deep pass. There are questions, though, about how well he will recover from a torn left ACL suffered when he went down in the final practice of the preseason.

The Vikings must decide by May whether to exercise Bridgewater's fifth-year contract option for 2018, expected to be worth about $12.5 million. Bridgewater is under contract next season for a non-guaranteed base salary of $1.354 million.

Minnesota will need to decide by March whether to pick up a $4 million roster bonus on Bradford, which would make his 2017 salary $17 million. If Bradford is let go, the Vikings would have to pay off a guaranteed $4 million.


Unless Bradford gets hurt or his play slips considerably, it would be surprising to see him released. Bradford has learned the offense quickly, and many believe his play will be even better once he becomes more comfortable and has more plays at his disposal.

In three games since taking over as the starter in Week 2, Bradford has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 719 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed passes to nine receivers in Monday night's 24-10 victory over the New York Giants.

Bradford, 28, is adjusting well to offensive coordinator Norv Turner's system. CBS analyst Rich Gannon, a Vikings quarterback from 1987-92, noted a similarity to when Turner was San Diego's coach with quarterback Philip Rivers from 2007-12.

"(Bradford's) a mature player that realizes this is a unique opportunity," Gannon said. "I think he's a good fit for Norv's offense. He pushes the ball vertically, he throws the deep ball, he gets the ball out of his hands quick. He's an accurate thrower. He doesn't have maybe the mobility that you love at this position, but nether did Philip Rivers in Norv's offense, and he put up huge numbers."

Could this mean Bradford will have an extended stay in Turner's system?

"It's too early to say whether Sam is the starter for next year or Teddy has lost his job," Theismann said. "You have to let the year play out and then evaluate. I think Teddy Bridgewater is a heck of a talent, but if you get hurt and you can't perform and the other guy plays well, the team has an obligation to win football games."

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
What To Read Next
Members Only
A string of late goals for Dickinson boys hockey team would be the decider, but wouldn't cease the North Stars 'never say die' effort till the final buzzer.
Magicians secure victory with a three pin contest at an intense dual in Dickinson. 
The Midgets’ win came with an injury to All-State beam title holder Addison Fitterer that could see her out for an extended period of time.
Members Only
Dickinson's Michael McChesney helps lead Team USA to a silver medal finish in the World University Games, inspiring young athletes to strive for greatness