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Bradford Spreads Wealth in Vikings Offense

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — When Sam Bradford arrived in Minnesota last month, he might not have been able to match nine new teammates' names with their faces.

But against the Giants on Monday Night Football, Bradford spread the wealth, completing passes to nine different receivers in in Minnesota's 24-10 win.

"Obviously, when we can be multiple, when we can spread the ball around, when we can get everyone involved, I think it only helps our offense," Bradford said. "I think it makes it tougher for defenses, as opposed to when the ball is only going to Stefon (Diggs) or it's only going to Kyle (Rudolph).

"Hopefully moving forward, we can continue that and continue to keep everyone involved," he added.

Bradford completed 26 of 36 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown to Rudolph on the night.

A trio of different receivers — Rudolph, Diggs and Cordarrelle Patterson — each had five catches for a combined 140 yards.

Jerick McKinnon caught three passes out of the backfield for 10 yards, and Charles Johnson was Bradford's favorite deep target, catching a pair of passes for 70 yards.

Adam Thielen and Matt Asiata each caught two passes, and Rhett Ellison and MyCole Pruitt each had one catch. Pruitt's grab for seven yards was his first catch of the season after battling a knee injury.

Thielen said Bradford's ability to spread the ball around highlights the trust factor between him and a stable of playmakers who are still getting to know their quarterback.

"It kind of shows what kind of guys we have on this team," Thielen said. "There's a lot of guys he can trust and a lot of guys who can make plays.

"I think Sam is starting to see that," he said.

And his teammates have seen Bradford's leadership emerge.

Patterson said Bradford's presence in the huddle has helped the Vikings offense remain in sync through Minnesota's strong start to the 2016 season.

"He's the quarterback; he's the voice," Patterson said. "He takes over when he has to, and we're going to listen to him because he's the man.

"He demands what he wants, and that's what we need out of a quarterback," he said. "If we're not doing something right, we know [he will] stand up and say something to us, and that's what we kind of need out of a quarterback."

Bradford has thrown for 719 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in three starts for Minnesota.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Bradford's ability to hold onto the ball has helped translate into victories.

"He hasn't been a big turnover guy in his career," Zimmer said. "I just think he's making pretty good decisions. I think he has a good grasp of where the ball should go."

Bradford's time in Minnesota has been a whirlwind so far. The former No. 1 overall pick started his first game in Purple just 15 days after being acquired in a trade and had to learn the Vikings offense on the fly.

But Thielen said Wednesday that perhaps the unorthodox start helped Bradford get acclimated to a new cast of characters to connect with on the field.

"He could just come in and play football," Thielen said. "You didn't know who was good, who was not good, who he could trust or not trust.

"Maybe it was an advantage that he could play football and throw to whoever is open," he added.

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