Weeks ago, Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer gave an odd answer on the status of quarterback Sam Bradford, saying, “He might play in one week, he might play in six weeks. Either way, he’s fine.”
Well, we’re past six weeks, and Bradford hasn’t played yet. And he won’t play again this season.
So, clearly, he’s not fine.
On Wednesday, the Vikings announced they’re putting Bradford on injured reserve, a day after the quarterback underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee that’s been bothering him all this time.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Dr. James Andrews, who has performed several procedures on Bradford, cleaned up Bradford’s knee and found no major structural damage.
Citing sources, Mortensen wrote that Andrews removed “several loose particles from Bradford’s knee, cleaned up some ragged cartilage and smoothed out a bone spur,” in the hopes that the pain Bradford has been experiencing will subside.
However, Andrews offered Minnesota no assurances on the outcome.
It’s unclear exactly what the nature of Bradford’s injury is; in mid-September, it was reported that the Vikings believed he had a bone bruise, and with Andrews and team doctors deeming his knee stable, it remains a mystery, at least publicly, as to why he’s been on the shelf for so long.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Bradford from this point; Wednesday is his 30th birthday, and knee injuries have severely impacted his career. He did start 15 games for Minnesota last season, after the Vikings sent a first-round draft pick to Philadelphia to acquire him in the days after Bridgewater’s injury.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Vikings activated quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the 53-man roster at the same time they placed Bradford on IR. Bridgewater returned to practice on Oct. 18, less than 14 months after the devastating knee injury he suffered in August 2016.
Case Keenum has played all or most of the last seven games for Minnesota (Bradford did try to play in Week 5 but couldn’t finish the game) and has been serviceable, though he’s thrown an interception in each of his last three outings.
With Aaron Rodgers on the shelf for Green Bay, the NFC North is definitely there for the Vikings to win, and putting Bridgewater back in charge of the offense, once the coaches deem he’s game-ready, might be the boost the team needs to win the division and head into the playoffs.
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