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Zimmer: Bradford 'Feeling Better' Today, is 'Day-by-Day'

Posted Sep 18, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Sam Bradford is “feeling better today,” but the coach added there is not a specific timeline for the quarterback’s return.

“We’ll know as we continue to move forward,” Zimmer said. “It’s probably day-by-day. If I could tell you more about it I would, but at this point in time, each day is a different day, so we’re just going to keep going from there.”

Bradford dazzled in Week 1, completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns for a career-best passer rating of 143.0 and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

He was limited in practice last week with a knee injury and went through a pre-game workout Sunday in Pittsburgh before the Vikings declared him inactive and started Case Keenum, who appeared for the Vikings and against the Steelers for the first time.

Minnesota lost 26-9, committing self-harm in the form of penalties on offense and defense, to fall to 1-1 on the young season.

“I thought [Bradford] had a chance to play Sunday until we worked him out,” Zimmer said before explaining the level of frustration he had during Sunday’s post-game media session. “Sometimes after the game, I’m upset, and I know our fans deserve better than that. They didn’t have any wine for me in the locker room to chill out a little bit.

“Where I get frustrated is I want to protect my players,” Zimmer continued. “I’m never going to put a player out on the field that cannot take care of himself. For that reason — no one has asked me about Teddy [Bridgewater] yet; I assumed I was going to get one, but I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know.”

Bridgewater has been rehabbing a knee injury that was suffered in the Vikings final preseason practice of 2016. Bradford, who was acquired via trade eight days before the 2016 opener and started 15 games, has had two prior ACL injuries.

“[Bradford] told me he felt it one time on a play [against the Saints in Week 1], but it wasn’t a major deal,” Zimmer said. “I don’t think it’s a result of the surgeries. I think he twisted it or something during the game. I don’t think it has anything to do with the surgeries.”

Zimmer said he doesn’t believe Bradford’s injury will be a “long-term thing.”

“When [Bradford is] ready, he’s going to play,” Zimmer said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing, but honestly, I have no idea, just like I have no idea about Teddy. I know there’s reports out there that [Bridgewater is] going to be ready to play in six weeks. I have no idea, so sometimes I get frustrated with answering the same questions, I guess, so I apologize.”

Keenum completed 20 of 37 passes for 167 yards and was sacked twice. He faced multiple pressures by Pittsburgh defenders.

“I thought he was tough and battled and fought in there, a short week against a pretty exotic defensive scheme,” Zimmer said. “They were very physical and fast, so I thought he battled. I’m sure he would say he can do better on some things, but he did some good things as well.”

Bridgewater is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Beyond Bradford and Keenum, the Vikings added Kyle Sloter from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday. Sloter signed with Minnesota’s practice squad on Sept. 4 after his release by Denver.

“He’s behind [in the playbook], but he’s an athletic kid, throws the ball good, has a strong arm,” Zimmer said. “He’s catching up.”

Zimmer said the Vikings have confidence in their quarterback situation, and the team will keep making improvements.

“This is a good football team,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to continue to get better each week. I like this team. I like the way they compete and go out and prepare. It’s one game. We’re not going to throw in the towel. We’re going to fight.”