Surprised Bradford Thrilled to be with Vikings
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Sam Bradford proved to be a professional in Philadelphia but the veteran quarterback was hardly thrilled with his lame-duck status with the Eagles.
That much was evident when Bradford staged a short protest by staying away from voluntary OTAs for a short period after the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz back in April.
When it became clear that Bradford’s agent, Tom Condon, would not be able to facilitate a trade at the time, the Oklahoma product returned to the NovaCare Complex and accepted his short-term future, one more year in Philadelphia as the Eagles prepped Wentz to be the future of the franchise.
Things changed earlier this week when Teddy Bridgewater went down with a catastrophic knee injury in Minnesota and the reverberations reached Philly when Vikings general manager Rick Spielman picked up the phone with an offer Howie Roseman couldn’t afford to refuse.
"My initial reaction was surprise," Bradford amitted when talking about the deal that sends a first-round pick to the Eagles in 2017 and a conditional fourth-rounder the next year. "It's something I really didn't think was a possibility. It kind of caught me off guard, but I think after the surprise, I was quickly filled with excitement for a new chapter and the opportunity ahead of me."
Initially, Spielman said he would not mortgage the Vikings' future to acquire a quarterback who might help Minnesota reach its lofty goals for the 2016 season and after the deal, he explained the seemingly inconsistent aspect of the king’s ransom he sent back East.
"Mortgaging the future, to me, was asking for some of our younger players -- current Pro Bowlers or significant players on this roster," Spielman said. "That's where I said I would not mortgage the future, giving any of the young players that are currently on our roster up. I think everybody knows how we feel about Teddy, but to me, it was just too unique of an opportunity to bring in a caliber of player like Sam Bradford. Going into next year, we have two very talented quarterbacks."
Bradford arrives in Minneapolis to play for his sixth offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, in seven seasons but there are a number of familiar faces to make him feel a little more comfortable.
The Vikings’ tight ends coach is Pat Shurmur, Bradford's offensive coordinator with the Eagles last season and during his first two seasons with the Rams, while Bradford played at Oklahoma with Adrian Peterson and his backup in St. Louis, Shaun Hill, will also be his caddie here.
“Pat is very familiar with me as a player,” Bradford said. “I think he understands the things that I do well, the concepts that I like. So, I’m sure that he can relay that to Coach (Norv) Turner, and I think anytime you change teams, change settings, it’s always nice to have a familiar face in the building. So, I think it’s great that Shurm is here, and I’m just excited to be with him again.”
Bradford then pivoted toward Pederson, one of the NFL’s all-time great runners, who figures to give the QB the best running game he’s ever had.
“I’m really excited to be with Adrian,” he said. “When I was at Oklahoma as a redshirt freshman, he was someone I really looked up to. He kind of set the bar, the standard, when we were at Oklahoma, and I’m just excited to be in the huddle with him again and excited to be teammates again.”
An Oklahoma City native, many believe Bradford was never really comfortable in Philadelphia and that’s probably true but he also took a moment to reflect and look in the rearview mirror before moving forward.
“I would like to thank all the fans who supported me, everyone in the Eagles organization, they gave me an opportunity coming off two ACL surgeries when not a lot of other people would have done the same, and I met some great people when I was in Philadelphia,” Bradford said. “So, for all the people that have supported me through good time and bad times, I would just really like to thank them for their support.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen