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5 Expert Takes on How Full Offseason Can Help Vikings Shurmur & Bradford

Posted Feb 14, 2017

The confluence of the Senior Bowl and Pro Bowl last month allowed Vikings.com to catch up with several national media members and ask their thoughts on the Vikings.

The lifting of the interim designation from Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur was fresh on the minds of the pundits, who said they look forward to seeing what Shurmur does with a full offseason.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said in his season-ending press conference that Sam Bradford has earned the starting quarterback job.

The Vikings acquired Bradford on Sept. 3, just days before the 2016 opener, after Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee. Bridgewater has been rehabbing since having surgery last fall.

Bradford and Shurmur, who began last season as tight ends coach and became interim offensive coordinator, previously worked together with the Rams and Eagles.

Bradford turned in his best statistical season as a pro in Minnesota, setting an NFL record for completion percentage (71.6) and throwing for 3,877 yards and 20 touchdowns against just five interceptions.

It’s still a couple of months before Vikings players return to Winter Park to start the offseason workout program, but here are five takes on how Shurmur and Bradford could work.

Pete Prisco to Vikings.com at the Pro Bowl:

“With [Shurmur] and Sam Bradford, there’s a relationship there. And it looks like it’s going to be a while before Teddy Bridgewater can get back. So he’s got the relationship with Sam Bradford, they were comfortable in the offense, they got the ball out quick – which they needed to do with that offensive line – and I think it makes sense.

“I’ve always been a guy that believed that Sam Bradford was better than most people did. What you saw last year was actually a really good quarterback – 70 percent completion percentage – my gosh, he did get the ball out quick, but he completed the passes. I think the next step is to get better protection for him, let him start driving the ball down the field. I think [Cordarrelle] Patterson emerged late in the season as a guy, you know, he’s been a tease for his time in his career, and maybe they’ll decide that he’s going to be a guy they can get the ball more to. I think they ought to get more big plays on offense.”

Alex Marvez to Vikings.com at the Pro Bowl:

“I think Sam is only going to get better in this system, especially now that Pat Shurmur’s taking it over. Pat made some nice adjustments from [former offensive coordinator] Norv [Turner], and that’s not a knock on Norv. He decided to emphasize the short passing game, obviously Sam set the all-time NFL record for completion percentage, but it’s hard in this league to dink and dunk on a continual basis and expect to win games – you have to get chunk plays. That’s an area where, except Adam Thielen, they just weren’t producing those plays. Hopefully for the Vikings, they’ll be able to get more shots downfield … I think adding more speed to that receiving corps, and of course, you have to give the quarterback more time to throw the football. That was one of the biggest issues, and I understand how Pat had to adjust the offense to put Sam Bradford in the position to succeed, to not get popped on every play. Hopefully for them they can update this line – they’ll have to make a tough decision on Matt Kalil, whether he gets re-signed – Andre Smith, obviously, another free agent to be, so these are some tough decisions the personnel department has to make.”

Tom Pelissero to Vikings.com at the Senior Bowl:

“I think it certainly helps the Vikings to have Pat Shurmur go through an entire offseason. That was one of the main things that was so unusual a year ago, that you don’t often have an offensive coordinator resign in the middle of a season, coupled with Sam Bradford arriving when he did, it was always going to be this sort of figure-it-out-on-the-fly process. Now, you can go through a more normal process, barring injuries and some of the other things that hit them last year.

“I think it will be interesting to see what direction Shurmur takes the offense. I think Bradford has always been sort of a quick-strike quarterback, a lot of the short passing game, how are you going to get some of those young receivers involved? What becomes of Laquon Treadwell? That’s one of the questions, and what happens at running back? There’s a lot of things you have to answer here, but I think that the confluence of circumstances that the Vikings went through a year ago, without even mentioning what Mike Zimmer went through from a health perspective, you’re not going to get that too often in the NFL.”

Ian Rapoport to Vikings.com at the Senior Bowl:

“You had Sam Bradford play really well and is going to go into the season as basically the starter because you don’t know what’s going to happen with Teddy and how ready he’s going to be.

“I thought [Bradford] looked good, coaching was good. You can only overcome so many injuries, and wherever this Vikings team goes, next year or the year after or the year after that, so many of the lessons will have been learned in the past year because that’s probably as much adversity as a team could go through.”

Mike Garafolo to Vikings.com at the Senior Bowl:

“I go back to [Lions quarterback] Matt Stafford a couple of years ago when they switched coordinators, and I talked to him in training camp, and he said, ‘It wasn’t until we got into training camp now until I felt totally immersed in this offense because we stripped it down, and you can’t do that during a season.’

“The difference with Sam Bradford being with Pat Shurmur, I get that part, but they’re still rebooting again, and that’s you’re third offense of the season. That’s a tough thing to do, so you get the offseason going forward, if Teddy’s slow to recover, or however they play it out, that will be a positive for him.”