While the Chicago Bears settled their quarterback situation early in the week when Mitch Trubisky was elevated into the starter’s role, the Minnesota Vikings haven’t been lucky enough to have that kind of clarity at the position.
However, that looks like it’s about to change:
Mike Zimmer met w/ ESPN’s MNF crew tonight & said he “anticipates” Sam Bradford will start vs. Bears tomorrow.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) October 8, 2017
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reports Head Coach Mike Zimmer met with the network’s Monday Night Football crew and dropped off a news nugget, saying he “anticipates” Sam Bradford will be the team’s starting quarterback later tonight.
Bradford, you’ll recall, has missed three straight games while nursing a knee injury, and there was a time when he was expected to be sidelined for quite a while, but it appears he’ll return sooner than expected. Good for him, but not-so-good news for a Bears defense that will be without three of the linebackers and a safety who were starters in Week 1.
Backup Case Keenum went 1-2 in relief, but didn’t come quite close to posting Bradford-type numbers in his time as starter. Bradford completed 84 percent of his passes, threw for 346 yards, and added three touchdowns in the team’s season-opening win against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. To be fair, it was going to be difficult for anyone to replicate those numbers. Still, Bradford’s return brings an additional dynamic to the Vikings offense that Keenum simply couldn’t create.
Bradford led the NFL in completion percentage in 2016 and has completed 68.8 percent of his passes in the 30 games he has played since the start of the 2015 season. During that stretch, Bradford has averaged nearly 265 yards per game, limited turnovers with a tidy 1.7 interception percentage, and posted an efficient 94.6 passer rating.
The former No. 1 overall pick hasn’t quite lived up to the promise he had coming out of Oklahoma, but he’s showing signs of accuracy and efficiency he never found while as a member of the St. Louis Rams. Bradford’s return shouldn’t come as a shock to the Bears or head coach John Fox, who expected him to start all along. We’ll see if those expectations translate into the Bears defense being prepared to bring its best effort.