The Minnesota Vikings were all set to have a big season. They’re opening a brand new $1 billion stadium, they’ve got arguably the best running back in football and the team is coming off a division title.
Teddy Bridgewater looked great in one half against the San Diego Chargers, and the only thing stopping him from getting the season off to a good start was an injury. Then, last Tuesday happened. Bridgewater suffered a major knee injury during a non-contact team passing drill.
He was taken to a hospital with what was later deemed a dislocated knee and complete ACL tear. His 2016 season, one filled with potential and promise, was over before it started.
But not for the Vikings. Not for Rick Spielman, no way. The Vikings had to do something, so they made one of the biggest trades of the offseason. They get Sam Bradford, and the Philadelphia Eagles get two draft picks, including a first-round choice next year. Many fans think that price is too high, but here are four reasons why the move had to be made.
Rick Spielman Goes All-In
After winning a division title last year, Rick Spielman knows this team this year has a chance to do something special. But you need a quarterback if you have playoff, and yes even Super Bowl, aspirations. When Bridgewater went down, Spielman had to act and do it quickly. With all due respect, you’re opening a $1 billion stadium and you’re going to rely on career back-up Shaun Hill to lead your offense? Nope, not going to happen. Spielman hates giving up draft picks, so the fact that he gave up to shows us how important it was to upgrade at the most important position in football and at least give the Vikings a chance.
Vikings have Adrian Peterson, Elite Defense
The Vikings have a rare combination with one of the best running backs in football and a defense that could be one of the best in the league. Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing last year and is looking to be even better this year. You can’t let this season go to waste just because your quarterback gets hurt. That said, you don’t necessarily need a star running the show to go a long way. Bradford will be asked to do more once he’s comfortable in the offense, but for now it’s important to make good decisions and let Peterson and your defense win games. You’re taking a gamble to rely on Hill all season. If Bradford can stay healthy, it could go a long way towards a playoff run.
How Long Will Teddy Bridgewater Be Out?
Again, Rick Spielman hates giving up draft picks. The fact that he gave up two, including a first-round choice next year, tells us two things. It says he thinks the Vikings can win now and make a playoff run with a viable quarterback, and it says they think Bridgewater won’t be ready for the start of the 2017 season. He’s like out for a year, meaning he would miss training camp and part of next year’s preseason. The Vikings will have Bradford for two seasons before they have to make a decision, so Bridgewater doesn’t need to rush back from his injury. Bridgewater is having surgery Thursday, it won’t be known until then just how bad of shape his knee really is.
Bradford Among Top Available Options
There was thought that the Vikings might wait until NFL rosters were trimmed to 53 players on Saturday. Spielman could have waited for Mark Sanchez to get cut, or Michael Vick was available. But to get the best option out there, a trade was the only way to go. But would be it Mike Glennon? A.J. McCarron? It became clear that Bradford wasn’t the happiest in Philadelphia. Sometimes a change of scenery, along with a better defense and more weapons on offense, is what it takes.
Let’s not forget that Bradford won a Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Yes, he’s had two ACL surgeries and sure, the injury risk is there. But let’s give him a shot before the Vikings get written off this season. Yes, it was a steep price to pay between the draft picks and his salary, but the Vikings couldn’t afford to not take a chance. Not with a new stadium and hopes of getting to the Super Bowl.