Teddy Bridgewater activated by Vikings as Sam Bradford heads to injured reserve

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback situation has unfolded in a pretty unfathomable way over the last two years. Teddy Bridgewater took the team to the playoffs in 2015 before suffering a gruesome knee injury before the 2016 season. People were concerned that Bridgewater’s career might be over, but it’s not, and he is actually back on the Vikings roster, with Minnesota activating him on Wednesday afternoon.

Corresponding with the Bridgewater move is less enthusiastic move, as the Vikings placed Sam Bradford on injured reserve. Bradford, of course, was the quarterback the Vikings gave up a first-round pick for right as 2016 was about to begin in order to replace Bridgewater. 

Bradford was originally drafted by the Rams out of Oklahoma in 2010 with the No. 1 overall pick. He would later land with the Eagles in a trade and has spent a large portion of his career battling knee injuries. But there was hope working with Pat Shurmur in Minnesota might allow Bradford’s career to take off late — after leading the league in completion percentage (71.6) last year, Bradford played arguably the best game of his career against the Saints in a Week 1 trouncing. 

The Vikings had arrived. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielan were underrated receivers, Dalvin Cook was the future at running back in Shurmur’s system and they possessed an elite defense. Bradford would not play another game this year, with a surprise knee injury popping up the week after he looked so good. 

Minnesota was forced to turn to Case Keenum, who has helped shepard the Vikings to a 5-2 record in Bradford’s absence. 

We’ve been expecting the move to activate Bridgewater for a few weeks now, but his activation won’t mean Keenum heads to the bench. In fact, Mike Zimmer believes Keenum has “earned” more starts for the Vikings. And it’s a move that makes sense in terms of giving Bridgewater more practice time to get used to the action and to get comfortable with his knee.

Plus, there’s the old saying “don’t mess with happy.” The Vikings should be happy right now as they’re leading the division and sitting in a prime spot to make another playoff run. 

It’s fascinating to think about the differences in Bradford and Bridgewater though. Bradford was acquired to replace Bridgewater when he suffered a knee injury. And Bridgewater was activated on the same day Bradford was placed on IR with a knee injury. 

The prospect of winning with Bradford was not out of the question and it was a bold, worthwhile move. In hindsight, it is certainly questionable: the Vikings gave up what would be the No. 14 overall pick (the Eagles drafted promising pass rusher Derek Barnett) for a guy who started 16 games and did not get to the playoffs in his only full season. The Vikings would not have had a much worse result had they simply stayed pat with a backup quarterback. That’s not an indictment of the trade, but these things are going to get judged on results.

The real winner here is the Eagles organization. Philly dealt a bunch of picks for Carson Wentz, expected to stash him on the bench, and then ultimately recouped a first-round pick (only two spots below the pick they gave up) by dealing away Bradford and starting Wentz. 

Fortunately for the Vikings, they’re getting Bridgewater back in time for a playoff run. If they can keep up the pace and he can contribute, hosting their own Super Bowl appearance is not out of the question.

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