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Vikings QB Sam Bradford Returns to Practice

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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Drew Mahowald

Drew Mahowald is a student at Saint John's University (MN) majoring in Media Communication. He proclaims himself as the number one fan of Little Caesars pizza and Jim Kleinsasser. The first Vikings game Drew remembers watching is the 41-0 blowout loss to the Giants in the 2000 NFC Championship game. Despite this, he has developed a deep knowledge and passion for the team. When he isn't writing about the Vikings, Drew is usually out golfing with friends or eating Little Caesar's pizza. You can find more of his work at CanisHoopus.com, the SB Nation affiliate Minnesota Timberwolves blog, or on Twitter at @DrewMahowald.

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