Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford has returned to practice following a 12-week stay on injured reserve with a knee injury. How does this shake up the quarterback depth chart?
Sam Bradford celebrated the new year by returning to Minnesota Vikings practice for the first time in three months. Reports and Mike Zimmer’s comments hinted that Bradford’s return this week was possible, but the official Vikings Twitter account made the official announcement Tuesday morning.
Sam Bradford will return to practice today. pic.twitter.com/Ntqo6W0mck
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 2, 2018
Video from practice shows Bradford moving very comfortably on his previously injured knee. Earlier in the season before he was placed on injured reserve, Bradford appeared reluctant to put pressure on his knee during practice drills.
— FOX 9 Sports (@Fox9Sports) January 2, 2018
Minnesota now has three weeks to decide whether to activate Bradford to the active roster or not. In the meantime, it appears as if Bradford will take the third spot on the quarterback depth chart behind starter Case Keenum and backup Teddy Bridgewater.
Let's be clear on Vikings QB Sam Bradford's return to practice. This in no way will impact the playoff depth chart, if it is determined that he is healthy enough to be activated off IR. Case Keenum is the starter. Teddy Bridgewater is the backup. Think… https://t.co/3cViKmyEBU
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) January 2, 2018
The Vikings quarterback situation remains an everlasting circus. Think about this — Bradford will slide in at No. 3 on the depth chart, behind starter Case Keenum and backup Teddy Bridgewater. The depth chart has been flipped 180 degrees.
The fan base appears divided on where Bradford should fall on the quarterback depth chart, assuming he is healthy enough to suit up in the playoffs. This poll from the About the Labor Twitter account received nearly 1,000 votes representing the Vikings’ fanbase’s thoughts.
IF Sam Bradford is declared 100% healthy before divisional round week, where should he move to on the QB depth chart?
— About the Labor (@VikingsATLPod) December 26, 2017
The most popular response was not a majority, as 44% of fans voted to slide Bradford in ahead of Bridgewater as the backup while 38% voted for the current hierarchy — Bradford as QB3. Furthermore, 13% think Bradford should resume his starting role once he is fully healthy.
A strong argument can be made for all three of the most popular scenarios. In Bradford’s one full game this season, he torched a very good Saints defense for 350 yards and three touchdowns in likely his best career performance. Since then, Case Keenum has been the quarterback that ultimately led the Vikings to a first-round bye. Teddy Bridgewater’s brief appearance in Minnesota’s Week 15 win over Cincinnati showed how significant a long period of time off can be.
One of the most important elements of this quarterback fiasco is each player’s experiencing running Pat Shurmur’s offense. Keenum obviously has the most recent game experience operating Shurmur’s scheme. However, Bradford’s past experience on multiple teams orchestrating Shurmur’s concepts should play a heavy role in the depth chart for the playoffs.
The decision ultimately comes down to which the coaching staff believes is more valuable — prior game experience with Shurmur’s offense (Bradford) or active practice participation over the past two months (Bridgewater).
Regardless of how the Vikings decide to order the depth chart, nobody can argue that Minnesota is the team in these playoffs best prepared to deal with a quarterback injury.