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After Further Review: Bradford's Quick Decisions, Accuracy Key 'Answer' Drive

After Further Review is a deeper look at plays or stats after Vikings games…

The Vikings Monday Night Football game against the Giants gave Sam Bradford the opportunity to show how much he had learned in his first month in Minnesota and the chance to face a New York defense coordinated by his first NFL Head Coach, Steve Spagnuolo.

Bradford and the Vikings offense were masterful when they most needed to be for a quick touchdown drive that answered the only touchdown by the Giants. Despite Minnesota controlling most of the game until that point, the Vikings only led by seven with 13:38 left.

The 2010 No. 1 overall pick showed composure, decisiveness and accuracy to hit receivers on multiple types of passing routes. He was 5-of-5 passing for 68 yards, including 2-of-2 for 21 yards on third downs, during the eight-play, 76-yard march to the end zone.

The drive opened with ESPN analyst and former head coach Jon Gruden talking about the way he extended practices to provide new quarterbacks extra snaps in the offense, which is not allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement that went into effect in 2011.

"Let's see what he really knows at crunch time," Gruden said of Bradford, who has been putting in extra work in the playbook on his own time since being acquired on Sept. 3.

Here's a recap of Bradford's passes during the drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown by Jerick McKinnon on a heck of a power play thanks to blocks by Jeremiah Sirles, T.J. Clemmings and Alex Boone.

Second-and-7 at the Minnesota 27: After a gain of 3 by McKinnon, Cordarrelle Patterson is working across the field on a shallow crossing route. Bradford's pass is tipped at the line, but flutters to Patterson, and he gains 3, setting up a third-and-manageable.


Third-and-4 at the Minnesota 30: Bradford starts the play in the shotgun and backpedals as he surveys the field. Kyle Rudolph runs a hook route to the sticks. Bradford spots Leon Hall break away from Rudolph to go toward Matt Asiata, who is starting to slide out for a check-down option. The miscommunication or misapplication by the Giants leaves Rudolph wide open in the middle of the field. He has a simple catch at the 36, and is able to get another 10 yards.

First-and-10 at the Minnesota 46: Bradford fires a quick receiver screen to Patterson for a gain of 4, continuing positives from the previous play.


Third-and-5 at the New York 49: This play will be overshadowed on highlight reels a play later, but was essential to the success of the drive. Bradford has Stefon Diggs on his left and Patterson, Rudolph and Adam Thielen along the right side of the formation. From the shotgun, where Bradford is flanked by Matt Asiata, the quarterback notices Jonathan Casillas creep down between the tackles inside the left hash mark.

Bradford throws a quick strike that Asiata smoothly catches. Asiata gains momentum as Casillas goes into pursuit. Asiata has enough mojo to dive across the yard marker despite contact from Casillas 2 yards shy of the sticks.

First-and-10 at the New York 44: With a fresh set of downs, the Vikings turn to play action and take a deep shot to Charles Johnson. Bradford starts under center, drops and has plenty of time to let the play develop. Johnson beats cornerback Trevin Wade by zipping to the inside, then zooms down the sideline. Bradford hits Johnson in stride at the 17, and he's able to get another 13 yards after the catch to set up first-and-goal at the New York 4.

Or as Gruden said, "You're going to get the inside release, and he gets back outside, away from the safety, and Bradford throws a beautiful bullet, and the Vikings are looking for the knockout punch."

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