Without a doubt, Sam Bradford deserves some of the blame for the Minnesota Vikings’ loss on Sunday afternoon. In his return to Philadelphia, he was inexplicably inaccurate, careless with the football, and surprisingly incompetent from the pocket — when there was a pocket.
When a quarterback fails to recognize disguised coverages, as Bradford did against the Eagles, he automatically puts an offense at a disadvantage. Even worse, though, is when an offensive line blatantly misses blocks or free rushers. Minnesota’s front-five hurtled back to Earth last week, giving up six sacks in their ugliest performance of the season.
Head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t mince words when describing the unit’s play. “They didn’t block anybody,” he said, per Brian Murphy. “We were soft, got overpowered. It was a little bit of man-on-man and we got whipped.”
Sunday’s game represented a chance for Minnesota’s offense to grow, to build on the progress they’d made since losing Adrian Peterson in Week 2. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner had changed the system dramatically, employing a heavy dose of shotgun formations and quick-hitting passes that allowed Bradford to pick apart opposing defenses behind a shaky line.
But against the Eagles, Turner reverted to the tendencies that led to 43 Teddy Bridgewater sacks in 2015 — seven-step drops, slow-developing play action passes, and predictable runs on first down. His playcalling choices compounded the struggles of the offensive line, which had been masked to this point by Turner’s clever adjustments.