When Teddy Bridgewater went down with so little time before the start of the season, the expectation was for the Minnesota Vikings to make a move. But the expectation fell on the Vikings finding a backup quarterback for Shaun Hill. The Vikings have said publicly that they are supporting Hill as the starter, and are confident in his abilities in the offense.
Minnesota Vikings are trading for Eagles’ QB Sam Bradford, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2016
That confidence appeared to take a sudden change of direction earlier today, however, when the Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles announced a trade to send Sam Bradford, the Eagles starter, to the Vikings for a first- and fourth-round pick. And just like that, the perceived plans for two teams shifted dramatically.
For the Vikings, Bradford is a great pickup. Bradford set the Eagles’ record for completion percentage last season, despite his receivers leading the NFL in drops. Bradford is still an incredibly talented passer, and is one of the more accurate in the league. While not possessing the mobile threat of Bridgewater, he’s arguably got the better arm of the two.
The Vikings think their championship window is open. That’s why they gave up a 1st rounder for Sam Bradford https://t.co/jkGNo4AOxD
— The Ringer (@ringer) September 4, 2016
Outside of that, though, the Vikings surrendered quite a lot for the injury-prone quarterback. A first-round and fourth-round pick is a big sacrifice for a quarterback with chronic injuries in a team that already has their franchise quarterback. The Vikings may have concerns over Bridgewater’s long-term health following the severity of the injury he suffered, but to bank on Bradford, a quarterback with even more serious injury issues, is puzzling to say the least.
The Vikings have already said that Hill is their starter for week one, but it feels more like a decision based on Bradford’s lack of mastery of his new playbook. The Vikings won’t give up that haul and not start Bradford. Either way, the Vikings now have their guy, and have made it clear they believe their window to win is now.
The Eagles have kicked their revamp up to a whole new gear, with the team seemingly switching their future trajectory overnight. The Eagles got a great return for Bradford, who was only to be used as a stopgap for rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles’ top overall pick. A first-round pick is especially huge for the Eagles, who dealt theirs in the Wentz deal.
The biggest thing about the trade for the Eagles is the change of tune from head coach Doug Pederson and the front office. Reports indicate that back-up Chase Daniel fully expected to take over the job as the starter, but the head coach noted today that it would be the rookie Wentz who would get the start as soon as he’s healthy. It’s a stark contrast from the entire offseason, where the Eagles’ brass was quoted repeatedly that Wentz wouldn’t get much playing time in his first year, as Pederson didn’t believe in thrusting rookies into the limelight.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 3, 2016
But Wentz is now the future and the present of the Eagles. He’ll take over much earlier than expected, and will provide the Eagles with a much faster chance to see exactly what they have in the young quarterback.
But you have to question the sudden choice. Dumping your starting quarterback on the eve of the new season couldn’t have been the original plan. But what the Vikings were offering was something worth changing plans for. It was a surprising move, but one that sent a clear message of the direction of both teams.
The move ultimately makes sense for both teams. The Vikings will quickly assimilate Bradford, and look to hit the ground running on their quest to keep the division crown in the NFC North. But if one team had much more to lose in this trade, it’s the Vikings, who have found themselves mortgaging some of their future to take a shot at a risky target in Bradford.
Both teams have now found a quarterback, and both teams just set new directions. All in one earth-shattering move.
Get cautionary pleas w/ Carson Wentz. But this is why #Eagles drafted him No. 2. If he can’t handle pressure/situation now, he never will.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) September 4, 2016