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Bradford (Knee) Receives MRI; Vikings Hopeful for Sunday

The 2017 season could not have gotten off to a much better start for the Minnesota Vikings.

Coming off a 29-19 victory over the visiting New Orleans Saints this past Monday, optimism and positivity in general has spread like wildfire across Vikings Territory.

Between a borderline flawless effort from new left tackle Riley Reiff, running back Dalvin Cook turning in a rookie debut on par with that of his predecessor’s and a performance for the ages from highly-criticized quarterback Sam Bradford; it appeared as though everything may finally be falling into place for the Vikings.

As with most successful periods in team history, however, this brief, four-day period of ecstasy has the potential to be short-lived. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Bradford has been hampered by discomfort and swelling in his left knee, prompting the quarterback to receive an MRI this past Tuesday.

Fortunately for Minnesota, however, test results on its signal-caller’s surgically-repaired left knee came back negative. Bradford, who suffered a pair of Grade 3 ACL tears in under a year during his tenure with the then-St. Louis Rams, has a long and well-documented history of knee problems. He missed the final nine games of the 2013 season and all 16 Rams matchups the following year before continuing his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sam Bradford Injury History courtesy of Sports Injury Predictor

Bradford appeared on the Vikings injury report following a prolific effort against the Saints that netted him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was listed as a “limited” practice participant both on Wednesday and Thursday before news broke Friday that his ailing knee could be a greater concern than initially perceived.

Team Injury Report courtesy of Vikings.com

Bradford currently ranks first in the league in completion percentage (84.4%), first in yards per attempt (10.81), second in passer rating (143.0), second in passing yards (346), second in touchdowns (3) and sixth in completions (27) with 15 games still yet to be played during Week 2.

News of yet another untimely injury just weeks removed from the anniversary of Teddy Bridgewater’s knee implosion certainly won’t sit well with Vikings fans, but there may actually be light at the end of the tunnel this time around.

According to Courtney Cronin of ESPN, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer “anticipates” that Bradford will play this Sunday in Pittsburgh despite the wave of negative developments pertaining to the immediate health of the Vikings starting field general.

In the event that Bradford is unable to take the field this weekend, Minnesota will trot out its newly-minted backup quarterback, Case Keenum. Keenum, who started nine games (4-5) for the Rams in 2016, completed 33 passes on 48 attempts (68.5%) for 325 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason.

Keenum defeated Taylor Heinicke during a competition this summer for the right to backup Bradford. His career-to-date doesn’t lend much reason for optimism, having been a marginal spot-starter during five seasons in both Houston and Los Angeles, but it sounds as if the veteran passer has — at the very least — earned the respect of the Vikings locker room:

Heinicke was waived with an injury settlement shortly after, leading Minnesota to pony-up the big bucks to sign preseason phenom Kyle Sloter to its practice squad. The latter represents an emergency option for the Vikings, as it remains extremely unlikely that the former Northern Colorado Bear and Denver Bronco will be signed to the 53-man roster and activated ahead of Sunday’s contest.

In the event that Minnesota decides to take the field with only one active quarterback, the Vikings do have a pair of intriguing super-emergency options — newly-acquired Blake Bell passed for over 1,700 yards at Oklahoma before converting to tight end, and running back/kick returner Jerick McKinnon called the shots in Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense for four seasons.


All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference, unless otherwise noted.

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BJ Reidell

Captain Content and Superior Half of About the Labor: A Minnesota Vikings Podcast. Human Flamethrower on Twitter @RobertReidell.

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5 Comments

  1. I hope he is OK, and plays great all year, but I have said it all along that SAM BRADFORD SHOULD NOT BE EXTENDED!! He has injury issues, and has never been clutch in pressure situations. I want to see Sam play clutch when the team is down, and NOT playing well, and drive us the length of the field with under 2 mins left and win the game. Not get sacked/fumble, not throw a soul crushing pick. WIN. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO MAKE SUCH A HUGE SALARY CAP COMMITMENT TO THIS GUY. We can draft a new qb or get Teddy on the cheap. We can win many other ways, and still have a TON of money to invest in this team. If Sam B stays healthy all year, and shows he can come up clutch in pressure games when we are down, and he wins double digit games, and goes to playoffs, and wins a playoff game, then maybe, just maybe, I would be OK with an extension. I doubt he can, but I hope I am wrong. For now, lets beat Pittsburgh!!! SKOL

    1. You should consider buying the team. If you lack the money to do that, you should at least have the Wilfs fire Spielman so you can be GM. If you cannot do either of those, you need to acquire enough self awareness to realize that the team doesn’t need your permission to extend Bradford.

      “get Teddy on the cheap”

      Bridgewater would be cheap because half of his leg almost falls off on a random basis. The football terminology for that is “not good”.

      Skål

    2. Its a sore knee. You want to re[lace the guy with a sore knee with a guy with a destroyed knee? Thank God you aren’t the GM. Bradford will miss 1 game tops from this, come back strong, the team will have a great year and he will get extended.

  2. Bradford should be fine… as you get older these things happen. With the trainers and doctors this team has… put a compression sleeve on it. Maybe a brace if it helps. No problems.

  3. Hmm, if we had tried out Heinicke as a punter – I just read he punted sometimes for Old Dominion, and, according to the poster, was always a threat to run or pass the ball, allowing ODU to have the best 4th down conversion rate in college football – we might have a third emergency option, and a much better one than Bell and McKinnon.

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