Pros and Cons: Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill Against the Packers?

Image courtesy of

As the Minnesota Vikings prepare to play the Green Bay Packers in U.S. Bank Stadium this Sunday night, the team has yet to announce to the public who will be starting under center for the Vikings’ second game of the 2016 regular season.

Minnesota has two choices for Sunday — Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford. The choice seems obvious to some that the Vikings should go with the recently acquired Bradford.

But would that really be the best choice?

Each player has both positive and negative reasons to support the argument for why he should or should not start. But if Minnesota’s defense played like they did against the Tennessee Titans last week, it really will not matter who the team’s starting quarterback is.

Sam Bradford

PROS: He is the Vikings’ shiny new toy that they just gave up a first round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for. Bradford, a former Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, has never been able to live up to the expectations that he was given when the St. Louis Rams selected him first overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.

But some argue that he has never been a member of a team as talented as Minnesota’s this season. In his previous situations with the Rams and Eagles, more was required from Bradford on the field than the Vikings may need from him this year.

He is not even 30-years-old yet (28 actually), so he still has plenty of time to blossom into a great quarterback in this league.

In terms of Sunday’s game, Bradford would certainly present more of a threat for the Packers’ defense during passing situations than Hill would. His abilities as a passer could even lead to more favorable situations for Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, as Green Bay could be more hesitant to sell out for the run due to the chance of Bradford making them pay with his arm.

CONS: He has been in Minnesota, for what, three weeks now? Maybe throwing him under the lights on national TV against a division rival is not the best idea for the Vikings on Sunday.

During his career, Bradford has been a pretty bad quarterback in games played after 7pm EST anyways. In 11 games, he has a career 3-8 record while completing 58 percent of his passes and only posting a quarterback rating of 73.5.

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer says Bradford already knows the offense pretty well, but there is no way he knows the tendencies and preferences of the team’s current offensive starters yet. Another week of practice for their new quarterback may be a better option for the Vikings this week.

Shaun Hill

PROS: He did not throw any touchdown passes last week against the Titans, but he also did not turn the ball over or take any sacks. It proved to be all Minnesota needed to get their first win of 2016.

A career backup, Hill has been with the Vikings since last season and is very familiar with the type of offense Minnesota wants to run. He may not have the strongest arm in the world (or in a pee-wee football league), but he is not going to try and force a throw into triple coverage and put his team in a bad situation.

There may not be much of an upside on the stat sheet if the Vikings were to start Hill on Sunday against the Packers, but his low-risk, playing ability could be all Minnesota needs to beat Green Bay.

CONS: Remember those long bombs that former Vikings quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and Randall Cunningham used to throw Minnesota’s receiver’s in the end zone? Yeah, those types of throws have absolutely no chance of happening with Hill in the game.

His skill set is better suited to a West Coast type of offense that relies on shorter passes to move down the field. So what the Vikings would necessarily be trying to do on offense with Norv Turner’s system cannot really be accomplished with a quarterback who has the arm strength of a dead fish.

If Minnesota finds themselves down big to the Packers early on Sunday night and handing the ball off to Peterson is still not going according to plan, the Vikings may have to consider benching Hill for Bradford midway through the game to still have a chance at winning.

If Hill is named Minnesota’s starter for Sunday, Green Bay’s main objective on defense will be to shut down Peterson early and force the Vikings to rely on Hill making plays with his arm. The ideal situation would be for Peterson to get his groove back this weekend and make whoever Minnesota choses to start at quarterback absolutely irrelevant.