It’s probably been lost in their recent struggles, but the Minnesota Vikings were put in a pretty bad situation to start the 2016 season.
Franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a severe knee injury, after which point the team traded for veteran Sam Bradford. This came a week before the start of the regular season.
Forced to learn a new offense that was created for Bridgewater on the fly, Bradford did extremely well to perform at a higher-than-expected level. After sitting Week 1, he led the team to four consecutive victories, ultimately concluding in a 5-0 start to the season.
Things were looking great.
Since then, it’s been a complete and utter disaster. Minnesota has lost eight of its past 10 and has been eliminated from playoff contention. In between, Norv Turner resigned as offensive coordinator and Adrian Peterson suffered a serious knee injury.
Despite all this, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer seems to be impressed with what Bradford has done.
“Maybe this is the best year he’s (Bradford) ever had,” Zimmer said, via the Pioneer Press. “If you put all those together and look at the things he’s had to deal with, I think he’s been amazing.”
Before we jump to a rash conclusion and call Zimmer crazy, it is important to note that Bradford has actually put up the best season of his career. He heads into Week 17 leading the NFL with a 71.3 completion percentage. The former No. 1 overall pick has also thrown 17 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions and is on pace to put up a career high in passing yards.
That’s all fine and dandy.
He’s also overseen a disastrous offense that ranks 26th in points scored and 30th in total yards. That’s not a unit that helped out a pretty darn stout defense.
Zimmer’s praise for Bradford is interesting in that it comes with a huge question mark hanging over the Vikings’ heading into the offseason. They dealt multiple picks, including a first rounder, for Bradford. They might also be getting Bridgewater back in the mix by the time next season rolls around. How will Minnesota handle this situation?
This is the biggest question heading into an offseason that might include the departure of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson.