Last year, the very late arrival of quarterback Sam Bradford to the Minnesota offense was akin to changing a tire on a moving car. This year, the Vikings and Bradford have a full chance to tinker with the vehicle before putting it on the track.
The Vikings are raving about what Bradford can bring to the team with a full offseason of work, as opposed to late year — where there was no offseason work, no training camp, no preseason with Bradford.
“It is crazy because during the season, it was almost like he had been there all offseason, so for us now to have an offseason on top of that, what we did last year, it is great,” receiver Adam Thielen said, via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. “Obviously him talking to us, telling us how he likes things done, how we like things done, kind of getting on the same page. That is what this is all about. I think we have gotten off to a great start.”
Despite Thielen’s positivity about Bradford in 2016, the Minnesota offense struggled, finishing 28th in total yards and slumping to a 3-8 finish after a 5-0 start. The abrupt resignation of offensive coordinator Norv Turner surely was a factor, as was poor play from the offensive line. Still, having Bradford for the full year as opposed to having him from Labor Day on — along with (presumably) having offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur employed through January — can’t hurt.
Assuming Bradford doesn’t get hurt. Despite a history of injuries, he took a beating last year but kept going. With Teddy Bridgewater’s status still undetermined, it will be important to keep Bradford healthy for as much of the season as possible.