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Lunchbreak: Bradford Receives High Marks for 1st Season in Purple

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford put together a strong season in Minnesota after being acquired in a September trade with the Eagles.

Bradford, who started 15 games, threw for 3,877 yards with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also set an NFL record with a 71.6 completion percentage.

Bradford's impressive play earned the former No. 1 overall pick a high grade from Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune, who gave Bradford a grade of 4.0 (out of 5.0).

Krammer wrote:

Because of Bradford, quarterback play was not the 28th-ranked offense's biggest worry as they cycled through offensive tackles and running backs to no avail at either position.

Bradford had eight different starting offensive line combinations play in front of him, and the Vikings rushed for the fewest yards of any team in the league this season.

Krammer added:

He was forced to navigate an offense that never generated a ground game, changed coordinators and would lose three offensive tackles to season-ending injuries.

To keep him upright, Bradford's throws were shortened even more when Pat Shurmur and a horizontal pass game stepped in for the resigned Norv Turner as play caller.

Bradford spread the wealth this season as three of his targets — Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph— each set career highs in receiving yards. Bradford also excelled at the deep ball in 2016.

One of the league's more accurate downfield passers, ranking eighth in 'deep' target precision, per Pro Football Reference.

Three other Vikings quarterbacks — Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill and Taylor Heinicke — all received a grade of N/A.

Vikings could look for offensive line help in draft

Although the NFL playoffs are still ongoing, teams not in the postseason have turned their focus to the offseason, including the NFL Draft.

A possible position target for each team was recently posted by, with writer Ben Goessling saying the Vikings could aim to [improve their offensive line]( N) in the draft.

Goessling wrote: 

The Vikings don't have a first-round pick, so they'll have to scout well to find a player who can step in and help right away. But with five picks between the second and fourth rounds, they should be able to devote some attention to a position they've rarely addressed in the early rounds. The Vikings have taken just two linemen before the fourth round since 2009.

Minnesota has a second-round selection, plus two picks in both the third and fourth rounds.

Holler: Vikings learn NFL can be fickle business

A year ago, the Vikings went 11-5 and captured the NFC North title. Now Minnesota has started its offseason after a bittersweet 8-8 season with no postseason appearance.

John Holler of Viking Update said the Vikings aren't the only team that sat at home a year after making the playoffs.

Holler wrote:

In 2016, only two of the eight defending division champions actually defended their crowns. They met Saturday night when New England sent Houston home.

*The Vikings were far from alone in their inability to defend their division titles. The Vikings finished 8-8. The other five who didn't repeat as division champs? Their records were 9-7, 8-7-1, 7-8-1, 6-9-1 and 6-10. *

*The six teams that didn't repeat as division champions posted a record of 72-24 in 2015. In 2016, those same six teams posted a combined record of 44-49-3. *

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