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Sam Bradford Breaks NFL Record, Team Records in Season Finale

Posted Jan 1, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS – Sam Bradford may have been joined the Vikings ship late a little late, but he’s made his time in Minnesota count.

En route to a Vikings 38-10 win over the Bears Sunday, Bradford set the NFL record for single-season completion percentage, finishing his first season in purple at 71.6.

The previous record was held by Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who finished the 2011 season at 71.2. Bradford also set a franchise record for most completions in a season with 395. He surpassed Daunte Culpepper, who had 379 completions in 2004 and led the league and also topped Culpepper’s franchise-best completion percentage of 69.2 in 2004.

The Vikings accomplished a comfortable fourth-quarter lead and sat Bradford, at which point he finished the day 25-of-33 passing for 250 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 114.5.

Bradford said the stats are nice, but he’d quickly trade them in for team wins. He added:

“But, the fact that we were able to go out there and accomplish that as a group. You know, everyone contributes to that, and it’s pretty cool.”

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said after the game he’s been pleased with Bradford’s performance since joining the team via trade on Sept. 3.

“He took good care of the football,” Zimmer said of Bradford. “There were times when he hummed it in there and needed to put a little extra on it. There were times when he had touch passes. Made a nice couple of throws to [Kyle] Rudolph. Some nice throws to [Jerick] McKinnon for the first touchdown. So yeah, I thought he played well.”

Bradford and Rudolph connected 11 times on Sunday, including once for a touchdown. Early in the second quarter, Bradford threw a short pass over the middle to Rudolph, who then fought the rest of the way for a 22-yard score.

The chemistry between the two was evident all season long, and it seemed fitting in the season finale to see the pair of teammates reach personal milestones together.

“It was huge,” Rudolph said of Bradford’s performance to finish the season. “Sam got here six days before our first game. For him to come out and have the season he had this year, it speaks of his work ethic and the way he prepared himself each and every week.”

According to Bradford, he felt an immediate connection with Rudolph even while joining the team after OTAs and training camp. He credited Rudolph with helping him break both records.

“Kyle is just a really good football player,” Bradford said. “He’s real easy to read as far as his body language in routes, and he’s a big target who’s got a really big catch radius. Obviously, that’s what you’re looking for as a quarterback, because you know if you put it in his area, he’s usually going to come down with it.”

Conversely, Rudolph credited Bradford with helping reach his own benchmarks. With 11 catches, 117 receiving yards and the touchdown on the day, Rudolph set a Vikings record for most career touchdowns by a tight end (29) and most receptions in a season by a tight end (83).

Rudolph said the stats wouldn’t have been possible without the season Bradford had.

“Both of the things I was able to achieve today wouldn’t be possible without Sam and the other guys we’re out there with,” Rudolph said. “They are great team things.”

Bradford said he’s always had confidence in his abilities and performance, even while dealing with injuries throughout his career. He added that finishing this particular season was a credit to his Vikings teammates, considering all the adversity the team faced throughout the year.

“This year, just in terms of the trade and showing up week one, it’s been crazy,” Bradford said. “But, it’s been fun, and I’ve enjoyed being a part of this locker room.”

Added Bradford: “I think the guys in this locker room are one of the main reasons I was able to play the way I did this year.”