Follow the author: @Thee_CurtMaGurt
When Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season with a torn ACL and dislocated knee Vikings fans everywhere scrambled to their computers to look up who the teams back up quarterback was. When they realized it was Shaun Hill they probably internally rationalized and said something along the lines of, “how many times can Adrian Peterson run the ball this year without dying?”. After all, this was team that had Super Bowl aspirations coming into this year and now they were going to have to rely on Hill, a 15-year veteran, who by all means is an excellent backup, but is just that. A backup. If the Vikings wanted to save their season after Bridgewater, their young, up-and-coming leader, went down last week, they needed to bring in someone who offered more than Hill.
Yesterday, they did just that. Acquiring Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick.
Bradford saw the writing on the wall in Philly after the team moved up in the draft to select Carson Wentz as their future quarterback. It was not too long ago that Bradford was the St. Louis Rams first-overall pick but injuries would derail his career leading him to be traded to the Eagles and now, the Vikings.
Now that we are all caught up on the history lets get right down to it. How does Bradford help the Vikings? Well, for starters he is better than Hill at the game of football. Bradford has always had talent and, when he wasn’t injured, showed that he can be a pretty good player in the NFL. That has not always meant fantasy stardom for the former Oklahoma Sooner, actually most fantasy players despise him, but he does boost the value of those around him now that he is in Minnesota.
Bradford is not a fantasy QB1, and he may never turn into one, but what he can do, in the short term, is restore the fantasy value of the other Viking players who were expected to fall out of fantasy relevance in the wake of the Bridgewater injury.
Lets start with Peterson, who is being reunited with his former Sooner teammate, and is the most important person on the Vikings with, or without a QB. Peterson is a work horse and will be one regardless of who is under centre for the Vikings week one. The difference here is that when Hill was the starter opposing defences would be able to stack the box and throw everything at trying to stop Peterson while daring Hill to throw the ball. With Bradford starting, teams still have to respect the Vikings passing attack. While he (Bradford) has never been a great deep-ball passer, he is still capable of getting the ball out on time and with accuracy. That alone should be enough keep teams from simply trying to stop the Vikings run game all the time, giving Peterson more room to operate.
The other players Bradford benefits are the Viking wide receivers. Stefon Diggs was a potential breakout candidate this year and rookie Laquon Treadwell is a highly touted prospect who were both expected to benefit from the growth of Bridgewater. With Hill starting these two probably do not reach (or even come close to) their potential this season. With the Bradford trade, there is a chance that one, or maybe both, can still have very solid years. Bradford was victimized by dropped passes last year deflating his passing stats along the way. While this Vikings group may be young, there is a chance Bradford keeps them from falling into fantasy limbo, if they can catch the ball.
So yes, while some people will say the Vikings organization gave up too much for Bradford, sure they did, but they had to. This is a team that felt they had a chance to go to the Super Bowl this year and now, after making this trade, they still have that chance. Bradford will never be the promising, first-overall pick he was supposed to be, but if he can make throws when he has too, this Vikings team can still contend. So there you have it. Just because you have Vikings players on your fantasy team does not mean you should abandon all hope. You too might benefit from this trade, and maybe Bradford can help get you to the fantasy football promise land.
*On the flipside if you have Eagles players you may want to begin looking into alternative options. Either Chase Daniel or Carson Wentz will be the week one starter and neither of those two inspire much confidence right now. Owners of Jordan Matthews, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz beware.