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Bradford: 'We All Have a Hand' in Pass Protection

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Quarterback Sam Bradford said Thursday there were multiple reasons that the Vikings pass protection struggled against the Eagles and there can be plenty of hands involved in fixing the problem going forward.

Bradford was sacked six times, and Philadelphia was credited with 12 quarterback hits by press box statisticians. The Eagles forced four fumbles, recovering two during sacks, and became the only team to intercept Bradford in 2016.

"I think, obviously, there were times I could have gotten it out quicker," Bradford said. "I think when you look at it, it's all of us. I've got to find ways to get the ball out. We've got to find different schemes to get it out.

"We've got to get open out wide quicker, and sometimes protection has to be a little bit better up front," Bradford said. "But I think we all have a hand in it, and this week, going out to practice, I think we realize that we all have to do our jobs to solve the problems that showed up on Sunday."

Bradford said film review of the Vikings first loss of the season revealed "fixable" errors.

"A lot of them were just mental mistakes," Bradford said. "They're things that we have done correctly the previous five weeks and just failed to execute or failed to do them correctly on Sunday. So, we've just got to get back on track and go out there and be the offense we know we can be."

The Vikings implemented a rotation at the tackle positions, starting T.J. Clemmings at left tackle and Jeremiah Sirles at right tackle. They replaced Clemmings with newly signed Jake Long and moved Clemmings to right tackle early. Minnesota alternated between those linemen on multiple possessions.

"It's just something that happens," Brandon Fusco said of the rotation. "We're all confident with whoever is in there, that's why we practice and do all this stuff before the game. We knew going in that's what we were going to do so it wasn't surprising."

The Eagles blitzed more frequently than they had shown earlier this season and kept the heat coming once the Vikings fell behind and were in more "must-pass situations."

"They brought a lot of off-the-edge pressure," Fusco said. "A lot of safety blitzes and stuff that we've seen, we just didn't communicate well. We've got to play better up front."

Guard Alex Boone said it's on every lineman to "pull their own weight" this week at Chicago and beyond.

"You have to bow up when you go into a tough place like that," Boone said. "That's a good defense, and you can't say you were caught off guard or you weren't expecting it. It's a tough game and it's the NFL, and every week is tough, just like this week is going to be tough for us. You've got to go and do your job at a high level."

Asked if it's more important to be technically sound or know where the rush is coming from, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said, "It's both because a lot of times things change based on the direction of the pressure.

"Based on calls, the line might have to go from going to the right or going to the left or vice versa or whatever," Zimmer said. "Part of it is the running back knowing where the line is going and where he's blocking. When it's just basic rush, a lot of it is about technique and getting your hands off first. You know, not being pushed back into the quarterback. You know, making sure the quarterback has a clean pocket. It really gets complicated."

Asked if the Eagles discovered a "blueprint" to beat the Vikings, Bears Head Coach John Fox said, "I don't know if I buy into that too much."

"I think the Vikings have lost one game. I wouldn't say that's a blueprint to wreck their season by any stretch," Fox said. "In any game, it's one game and the victor is the one that executes the best. … [Philadelphia] played good and did get the win, but everything is different about matchups. We're not the same team as the Eagles."

The Bears run a 3-4 defensive front instead of a 4-3 like the Eagles. Chicago has dealt with multiple injuries, but outside linebackers Pernell McPhee and Leonard Floyd returned to action in Week 7 at Green Bay.

It was the first appearance of 2016 for McPhee, who opened the season on the physically unable to perform list. Floyd forced a fumble by Aaron Rodgers and recovered it in the end zone for Chicago's first defensive touchdown since Sept. 22, 2014.

They'll join Willie Young, who leads the Bears with 6.0 sacks.

"They got [McPhee] back last week, and he's an all-day affair," Zimmer said. "They've got three guys that are pretty good. Willie Young has six sacks, he's a long, athletic, powerful guy. Used to be in Detroit, has had a good year, really a good couple years in Chicago. McPhee is a guy that was in Baltimore that has done a nice job as well as they drafted (Leonard) Floyd early and he's come on as of late. They're athletic, they're long and they're physical."

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