Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said before the final game of the regular season that he thought quarterback Sam Bradford did an “amazing” job after being traded to Minnesota just before the start of the regular season.
Bradford took advantage of a scheme that called for him to throw the ball short most of the time by setting a new league record for completion percentage over the course of a season. The oft-injured Bradford also remained healthy all year despite playing behind a patchwork offensive line, which may help explain why Zimmer said on Tuesday that Bradford has earned the starting job as 2017 gets underway.
“I think Sam has played great,” Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I think he’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback.”
Two other factors likely play a role in Zimmer’s declaration. One is the price — first- and fourth-round picks — that the Vikings paid to get him from the Eagles and the other is the ongoing uncertainty about Teddy Bridgewater’s future. While Bridgewater says he’s stronger spiritually and mentally, Zimmer says he remains without a timetable for his physical recovery and that leaves the Vikings little choice other than moving forward with Bradford.