QB Sam Bradford - Minnesota Vikings
|6-4, 236||Born: 11-8-1987||College: Oklahoma||Drafted: Round 1, pick 1|
Week 21: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 17 vs CHI (25 / 33 / 250 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 24 / 0 rush)
While it wasn't a great season, Bradford managed to set the record for season-completion percentage with 71.6 passes complete. This is, however, what you can do when you dink and dunk around the field for so many games. Despite the short-passing offense, he also reached a career milestone for yards in a season with 3,877 yards and had his second highest touchdown total with 20. He threw for a trio of touchdowns for the second game in a row, this time picking on a relatively inept Bears defense which had no answers for tight end Kyle Rudolph who was wide open for his 22-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Bradford looked solid, but didn't stretch the field or do much different than he has all season.
2016 Week 16 vs GB (34 / 50 / 382 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Bradford threw the ball fifty times on Sunday, which is by no means optimal against a solid Green Bay Packers defense, but he completed 68 percent of those passes. As has been the case since Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator, the gameplan mostly consisted of short passes, with an average of 7.64 yards per throw. Bradford has averaged 6.99 yards per attempt on the season, so this was a high water mark for the year, but he ranks 19th overall in that stat for this season, well behind the pack. That said, the Vikings really had no choice as Saturday marked their seventh different starting offensive line combination of the season. As if to remind us how that's a bad thing, center Nick Easton misfired a snap into his own behind, fumbling the ball and turning it over to the Packers in the second quarter. It's been that sort of season. The short-range offense the Vikings feature has been the team in survival mode, doing all they could to keep Bradford healthy. That doesn't mean Bradford can't air it out a bit, as he did on a 71-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen. On that play, Bradford rolled out to his right and spotted Thielen as he juked a defender with a nice double-move and broke free. Bradford aired the ball out with a 30-yard throw, and two Green Bay defenders collided behind the play, leaving Thielen free to run the last 31 yards for the score. Bradford also found Stefon Diggs for a score--the first time they hooked up since Week 8--on a nicely thrown ball into the end zone and then hit Thielen for a second score along the back of the end zone in the fourth quarter. Both the second touchdown to Thielen and the one to Diggs came with the game well out of hand and the Packers playing a more relaxed defense, but more of Bradford's yards came in the first half, as he only added 151 of his 382 yards in the third and fourth quarters. As he has too often over the last month or so, Bradford also fumbled the ball without help from his center's rear end, as he got crushed from behind by linebacker Clay Matthews and coughed up the ball.
2016 Week 15 vs IND (32 / 42 / 291 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
While Bradford compiled a relatively pretty box score, it's the interception and strip-sack which really tell the tale. Mind you, the offensive line issues continue to cause disaster and put Bradford in situations where he is at a disadvantage from the snap. Even against a weak Colts defense, Bradford was constantly under pressure. That said, even he admitted his choices could have been better. "You know, I was probably just being greedy" he said according to a transcript of his post-game presser provided by the Vikings PR department. "I forced it and I just can't do that especially late in the half. The last thing you want to do is give them the ability to score again. I just can't make that throw." Bradford should have seen safety Mike Adams in his passing lane, and if he did, had to make a better throw. He was picked off again on an equally badly thought out pass to Jerrick McKinnon, but was bailed out by a questionable roughing the passer flag. In both cases Bradford threw the ball right at a defender. This is the biggest issue with Bradford's play over the second half of the season. Yes, he has struggled because the line is a mess, but Bradford has repeatedly shown poor decision-making in games, often late. This game was out of control early and much of Bradford's yardage was due to volume. His 9 yards per completion average continues to be the result of the dink and dunk offensive scheme, which also limits the ceiling of his receivers' production.
2016 Week 14 vs JAX (24 / 34 / 292 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 17 / 0 rush)
While Bradford was able to move the ball up and down the field, it took until the fourth quarter to punch the ball into the end zone. A large portion of that was because the Vikings have no running game and were forced to be more one dimensional in the red zone, which stalled it. Bradford's touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph was a quick strike. Bradford rolled to his right and zipped the ball to his tight end, who was wide open on a short out route. The pass was quick, as the Jacksonville Jaguars brought a lot of pressure, something they did all day. Despite this as well as losing guard Brandon Fusco, Bradford was able to go deep much more frequently--and effectively--than we have seen him attempt in some time. This is not an insignificant thing, as the Jaguars have a solid defense. While the offensive line was brutal blocking on run plays, it performed admirably on passing plays, allowing no sacks and few quarterback hits. With time, Bradford showed he can still be an effective passer, including downfield.
2016 Week 13 vs DAL (32 / 45 / 247 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)
Even when the Minnesota Vikings threaten with downfield passes, they can't get a completion. Numerous times the coverage was too good by the Dallas Cowboys, so the Vikings went underneath. That made the impact of all the other offensive issues--miscues, penalties, atrocious line play--even worse. If it wasn't for an outstanding defensive effort, the game would not have been close. It was close, however, and after an 18-yard completion to Adam Thielen, Bradford dinked, dunked and donked his way down the field, capping off an 8-play, 65-yard drive with an easy touchdown pass to running back Jerrick Mckinnon (who almost fell over on his route). McKinnon appeared to be dragging across the front of the offensive line, then cut back to the flat where he was wide open. The Vikings had to go for a two-point conversion, but immediately took a false start penalty, pushing them back to the seven yard line. The Cowboys easily brought pressure on Bradford, who made an awful throw out of the end zone. He appeared to be hit in the face on the play, and there should have been a flag and another chance at the conversion, but that doesn't take away how skittish he was in getting rid of the ball when he desperately needed to try and extend the play.
2016 Week 12 vs DET (31 / 37 / 224 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
It was only a matter of time before it happened, but happen it did. Sam Bradford has made terrible decisions in the fourth quarter of the last three games--bad sacks, poorly thought out throws--all drive killing mistakes. This time, that mistake--a fourth quarter pick with less than a minute to go--cost the Vikings a shot at a win in overtime. Adam Thielen ran a short route and had position on his defender, but what Bradford didn't see was Darius Slay release his receiver and curl back in towards Thielen. The ball was thrown where it probably should have gone, but Thielen didn't have a chance. Ironically, this is what the Vikings have done defensively for the last few weeks--bait quarterbacks into throwing at receivers who are double covered by hiding that second defender. Slay could do this because the Vikings have very little ability or desire to go deep. Slay could gamble Bradford wouldn't go deep because Bradford doesn't go deep. The Lions also had a safety over the top to cover Slay's receiver, so the risk was mitigated. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford only threw passes past ten yards downfield three times and his 3.5 yards average ties him for the lowest in a single game this season. The Vikings have no offensive line, and no run game so they went for dink and dunk. Bradford managed that fine for three quarters, but his one mistake cost the Vikings the game.
2016 Week 11 vs ARI (20 / 28 / 169 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
The Vikings did an excellent job shifting focus based on the attention the Arizona Cardinals gave their receivers. Sam Bradford only targeted a well-covered Stefon Diggs once in the first half, instead going to Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph when they actually had the ball--which was only 9:09 minutes in the first half. The Cardinal defense shifted their attention a little, freeing up Diggs for all six of his catches, totaling 37 yards. On the whole, Bradford was effective for three quarters - moving the offense methodically down the field and avoiding big mistakes. He still had issues with the offensive line, which allowed him to be hit seven times and sacked twice for 24 yards total loss. Bradford also imploded at the end of the game for the second week in a row, taking a bad sack and fumbling the ball, the result of which was a drive which ended with a Carson Palmer touchdown pass, pulling the Cardinals to within a touchdown. Luckily, Palmers' offensive line was worse than the Vikings and his next two drives ended in a punt and a fourth down sack. Overall, Bradford didn't have much time to work with in the first half, but he had more success in the second half until that last drive. Luckily, it didn't cost the team this week.
2016 Week 10 vs WAS (31 / 40 / 307 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Sam Bradford played a solid game until the last quarter, when he threw a pick and then on the last drive took a bad sack. His interception was brutal both in timing and execution. On the play, Bradford had plenty of time as he dropped back and a seemingly clear look at Adam Thielen, who it appeared he was staring down. He failed to see linebacker Preston Smith dropping into coverage and threw directly to him. Despite this, the Vikings were still just 6 points behind as the fourth quarter wound down. The offense got to the Washington 11-yard line with 40 seconds left. Bradford then took a bad sack, which set the unit back 14 yards. An incomplete pass and another sack, and that was the ballgame. He did throw for a pair of touchdowns. One, a 20-yard score to tight end Kyle Rudolph was mostly due to Rudolph being wide open on the sideline and gaining a nice block as he ran to the end zone. The other was a very nice play call which had Adam Thielen go in motion and set up in the backfield, then run out on a short screen route. He was wide open for an easy pass. Both scores came in the second quarter, and Washington tightened up in the second half and the Vikings didn't score again.
2016 Week 9 vs DET (31 / 40 / 273 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
With the change from Norv Turner to Pat Shurmur, the Vikings finally seemed to adjust the playcalling to cover up the disastrous offensive line so that the ball came out of Bradford's hand as quickly as possible. The result was a lot of short pass attempts and not many downfield shots. For the most part, Bradford played well, avoiding big mistakes and the offense was in good rhythm. It just couldn't find the end zone often enough. The one touchdown Bradford threw was the result of blown coverage by the Lions, who left tight end Kyle Rudolph alone near the rear of the end zone. His most entertaining moment was when a pass he threw was batted back to him, he caught it and ran for five yards. Overall, despite the loss this was a good first step in trying to right the offense, and Bradford looked much more comfortable with what Pat Shurmur tried to do.
2016 Week 8 vs CHI (23 / 37 / 228 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
It might be hyperbole but Sam Bradford was once again under constant siege from the defense as his offensive line continued to play in ways that make a dumpster fire embarrassed to be associated with them. Breaking down the line last week looks much like doing so this week, and it's hard to see what the solution is mid-season as nothing they have done works and options are limited. As with the Eagles last week, the Bears didn't even have to blitz, doing so just two times while generating another twelve pressures anyway. On plays where he was pressured, Bradford was either sacked or limited to short passes. Also, despite connecting eight times, Bradford and receiver Stefon Diggs still don't seem to be on the same page. On one play, Diggs ran a streak when Bradford clearly expected him to come back, and so the pass was wildly short. On another pass, Diggs beat the coverage on a go route down the middle of the field and Bradford over threw him. The two did hook up for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. On the play, Diggs went down the middle of the field again, on a shorter route, and Bradford delivered a nice throw over the head of the defender. Diggs had to jump up and extend himself to make the catch, but did so for the lone Vikings touchdown of the night.
2016 Week 5 vs HOU (22 / 30 / 271 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Bradford got into a rhythm early Sunday, hitting three of his first four passes, including a 36-yard touchdown to Adam Thielen. On that play, Thielen threw a nice double-move on Houston cornerback Jonathan Joseph, getting wide open for Bradford to deliver a strike to him for a score. Consistent and smooth throughout the day, Bradford was able to shift down the throttle in the second half, throwing just a dozen passes with the Vikings well in the lead. He wasn't idle, though, and threw his second touchdown to Cordarrelle Patterson early in the fourth quarter. It was the sort of throw which Bradford has executed a lot in Minnesota--a pass where his receiver had to make a play, but Bradford clearly trusted he would. Lately that target has been Kyle Rudolph, but this time it was Patterson. While the receiver was pretty well covered, Bradford still threw the pass, and Patterson had to aggressively go after the ball to make the catch. But Bradford clearly knows his guys can and will do that--even a player like Patterson who was almost invisible prior to last week. We have to wonder if that trust also allows Bradford to stand in the pocket and deliver a completion as he gets hammered, as he was on a Jarius Wright pass at the end of the first quarter. Bradford knows his guys will leave it all out on the field, and clearly is willing to do the same. Overall, Bradford's Sunday was very impressive considering the Houston Texans are a tough defense even without JJ Watt and the Vikings offense was without Stefan Diggs and with a banged up Kyle Rudolph. Bradford is completely comfortable in this offense and as the offensive line is blocking well for him, he's producing very good games.
2016 Week 4 vs NYG (26 / 36 / 262 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 6 / 0 rush)
Increasingly comfortable in this offense, Sam Bradford has found his rhythm with the receivers on the Vikings and really spread the ball out on Monday, hitting nine different players throughout the evening including forgotten guys like Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson. Bradford isn't working with a limited playbook and, in fact, it seems as if the playbook has opened up more in general by adding guys like Patterson back in. This is still a Norv Turner offense, though, which means it likes to dink and dunk a bit and runs almost as much as it passes (33 run plays versus 36 passing plays). The Vikings play the short and intermediate game and then mix in some deep shots on occasion. He was three-of-four on throws over 20 yards per Pro Football Focus' Monday night grades, and while he overthrew receivers on occasion, Bradford continues to look good in this offense. Probably the one pass he'd like back the most was a fade to tight end Kyle Rudolph in the first quarter. The Giants were confused on coverage, and briefly there wasn't even anyone on Rudolph but Bradford didn't get the snap off quickly enough to take advantage, then he threw the ball just off target. Bradford also got better-than-usual blocking Monday night, and that gave him plenty of time to hit his marks. His one touchdown came in the second quarter on a 7-yard completion to--for the third game in a row--Kyle Rudolph. On the play, Bradford had plenty of time to wait for Rudolph to complete his route, which he did with precision to get the inside space on the defender. Bradford easily hit him for the score.
2016 Week 3 vs CAR (18 / 28 / 171 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
The Carolina Panthers came out hard at Sam Bradford, and he struggled in the first half behind a bad offensive line. Bradford was hit repeatedly early on as the Panthers pass rush was too much for the blocking on the line and by the running backs. That all changed at the start of the third quarter. The offensive line still struggled at times, but they were more consistent overall and the backs did a better job on their blocks as well. With time, Bradford looked very comfortable once again in this offense, trusted his receivers to make plays and moved the ball down the field efficiently. He capped his first drive of the second half with a very nice pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph. While Rudolph was covered, Bradford was confident enough in his receiver to throw the ball anyway and let Rudolph make the play, which he did. Bradford was 14 of 17 in the second half and the Carolina Panthers had no way to slow he and the passing offense down.
2016 Week 2 vs GB (22 / 31 / 286 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -3 / 0 rush)
The good news is, Sam Bradford looked much better than what you would expect for a guy who has had a playbook for about two weeks. Overall he looked sharp, was accurate and seemed to be in sync with Stefon Diggs, who had a huge day because of it. Unfortunately, the Vikings offensive line continues to struggle and Bradford was under some sort of pressure on half of the 35 drop-backs he was on. Bradford did throw for two nice touchdowns on the day. The first was an 8-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph late in the first half. On the play, Rudolph drove safety Morgan Burnett off the line and into the end zone before cutting towards the back corner. Bradford was under pressure, but got the ball out quickly and placed it to the outside shoulder of his tight end, where the defender couldn't get to it. The second touchdown pass was to Diggs, late in the third quarter with the Vikings up 10-7. On the play, Bradford was again under pressure as defensive tackle Mike Daniels slipped through the line. The quarterback saw Diggs gaining separation though, and uncorked 25-yard pass right into Diggs' hands in the end zone. Bradford did give his new team a scare when his non-throwing hand smashed into Clay Matthews' helmet. After heading into the locker-room for X-Rays, Bradford returned to the game. His pinky and wrist were swollen but it does not seem to be an injury the Vikings are concerned with.
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