(Rick Spielman photos courtesy of Minnesota Vikings)
Talk of Fame Network
When the Minnesota Vikings lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury, general manager Rick Spielman wasted no time finding a replacement.
Sam Bradford, come on down.
The good news is that the former Philadelphia quarterback can come in and start; the bad is that he’s an injury risk who not only missed parts of three of the last four seasons but who cost Spielman and the Vikings plenty. They paid a first-and fourth-round pick to pry Bradford away from the Eagles.
Bradford did not play in the season opener but should be ready soon. Nevertheless, the question remains: Is this a high-stakes gamble by the Vikings?
“Well, of course,” Spielman said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “I don’t know of anyone who said it wouldn’t be … at least from everything I’m reading.
“But I would say … a couple things: One, having (assistant coach) Pat Shurmur on our staff, who has coached him not only in St. Louis but in Philadelphia, gave us great insight on Sam; and 2) our athletic trainer, Eric Sugarman, has worked in Philadelphia. Once we were granted permission to get all the medical records … we got all the information we could, all the MRIs, etc., etc. … had our doctors and our medical staff determine if he was healthy. And he came in and passed the physical with flying colors.
“We don’t have any concerns from a medical standpoint. I also think that when you do have a top-10 rushing offense — and we’ve had that for a while here, especially with ’28’ (Adrian Peterson) in the backfield — and with the way we’ve improved our protection in our offensive line that, hopefully, he won’t be getting hit as much as he has through his career.”
The move to acquire Bradford caught most persons by surprise, especially after terms of the deal were revealed. But Spielman pointed out that urgency had plenty to do with the trade — and, much as he didn’t like parting with a first-round draft pick, he did what he felt was necessary to give the Vikings a chance to make it to Super Bowl XLI.
“It’s always hard to give up your first round pick,” he said. “But you have to understand: You’re not in the offseason. Or you’re not right before the draft. Or you’re not even at the beginning of training camp where you have time to haggle.
“I knew the situation we were in, and — unfortunately, there are a lot of smart people in this business we’re in — so did 31 other teams. So the only way you can make a move like this is … I knew you were going to have to pay a premium. And that was the only way you’re going to get something done with eight days left in the preseason.”