Head coach Mike Zimmer announced today that quarterback Sam Bradford will be returning to practice next week. Since Bradford went down with the knee injury during the Bears game week five, he has kept a low profile away from the team as he was exploring options for his knee. With the news of Bradford returning to practice soon, the Vikings will once again have three quarterbacks on their roster. Most teams would be happy if they could have one of these guys, but the Vikings will soon have three. Lets take a look at what this all means moving forward.
Not much has changed with Case Keenum. He has been having the season of his life after Bradford went down with injury, and has never really looked to be in jeopardy of losing his job to Teddy Bridgewater. Once Bridgewater returned, Zimmer made his quarterback announcement a week-to-week thing, and Keenum got the call each time. Unless something goes terribly wrong against the Bears, expect Keenum to be the starting quarterback moving forward.
Bridgewater made his long awaited return week 14 against the Bengals in front of the home crowd. The game was already out of hand. And with the home fans dying for a chance to see Bridgwater, Zimmer handed him the reins for a bit. While he only threw two passes, he looked to be moving around in the pocket well without major restriction. With the Bears game looking like it has the potential of being a blow out, do not be surprised if you see Bridgewater get some reps in the second half.
As Bradford returns during the playoff push, it will be interesting to see what kind of reps he receives. Earlier in the season, he was the starter and took close to all the first team reps before he went down. The first thing I expect the Vikings to look at is how he does with movement in the pocket. We saw his knee crumble and fall apart on him in week five, so it will be telling to see how the staff views the treatment and advancements on said knee.
At the end of the day, if all quarterbacks are healthy, I expect Keenum to remain the starter, Bridgewater the backup and Bradford the emergency quarterback. Many will say that one cannot lose their job to injury. But with the way Keenum has played and the history of knee injuries to Bradford, I do not see a scenario where Bradford jumps the other two on this depth chart. Ideally, the Vikings have no hesitation regarding who their quarterback will be for the stretch run.
Come playoff time, look for Keenum to be the starter for the Vikings. He has been at the helm for almost all of the season, after all. Although Keenum is expected to start, the Vikings staff will make sure that both Bridgewater and Bradford are ready and available to come in if the time is needed. This is a good problem for the Vikings to have moving forward.
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