By Mike Max

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — Among the luxuries for the Minnesota Vikings to enjoy this week is taking a look at personnel that may or may not be here after this postseason.

Sam Bradford burst into this season, then went quietly into the Monday night air in Chicago. He’s back practicing, and driven to play again because he understands his passion.

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Bradford understands coming back from injury. He’s done it before. Don’t kid yourself, he doesn’t go from practice field right to game field.

“We’re still just taking it one day at a time. That’s been my focus,” Bradford said. “Obviously the first goal was for me to be able to get out there and practice again.”

It hardly seems that it was the same season that he opened as NFC Player of the Week, in his only full game.

“He’s an elite quarterback and he’s had the success in his career for a reason. You look at what he did in the one and really only game he was healthy this year and the success that he had,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said.

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He tried it against the Bears, then went into his own hibernation with some self-reflection.

“Mentally for me it was tough. Obviously going through another injury, having gone through it twice before with this knee,” Bradford said.

Bradford is one of the highest-paid players of his era, so that lends itself to an obvious question: Why even bother to come back at all?

Turns out this game is about more than money when you recognize it as a unique life experience.

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“To have it taken away again you just realize how special it is to be out on that field with your teammates. Being able to compete out there in the National Football League, it’s one of the greatest honors there is,” Bradford said.

Mike Max