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I like this Bradford trade. What are your thoughts on it? And do the Vikings have him play backup Week 1 to watch Shaun Hill and get another week learning the system? -- Tim Drescher
I like it, too. The Vikings were in a unique and extremely difficult situation having lost their franchise quarterback 10 days before the regular season opener. To acquire a quality player at the most important position just a couple days later and to do so without jeopardizing the future of the franchise is a big-time move by the Vikings brass. The acquisition of Bradford gives the Vikings a chance to be a NFC contender this season because it gives them another quality option at the position and it fortifies depth at the position. Before this addition, the Vikings were one injury to Shaun Hill away from having virtually nothing at the quarterback position. Sure, the compensation is significant, but the Vikings acquired a quality player from a good organization and you're going to have to pay a price for that. At the same time, the Vikings still have eight picks in the 2017 draft, which includes their second-rounder and two picks in the third and fourth rounds. This gives them the flexibility to be able to move up into the first round if they feel there's a player they need to grab.
As for whether he plays or backs up in Week 1, that is a question for head coach Mike Zimmer to address this week. I'll be curious to hear what he has to say about this process. There are a lot of moving parts, I'm sure.
View images from the Sunday, Sept. 4 practice at Winter Park.
I can't even explain how excited I am about the acquisition of Sam Bradford. I love what Shaun Hill brings, but I feel like Bradford will gives us that legitimate pass threat, once he learns the playbook, that we were hoping Teddy would give us this year. Gonna be a fun season, Skol! -- Ross Holt
The loss of Bridgewater hurts because you hate seeing something like that happen to any player and there was a lot of optimism about Bridgewater's projections for 2016. But having Bradford and Hill together on the depth chart does give somewhat of a "back on track" feel at the quarterback position. With coach Zimmer's ability to motivate and get the team moving in the same direction, the presence of Adrian Peterson and a talented and fierce defense, the Vikings are still in position to be a good team this season.
Do you believe that one of the key things the Vikings need improve on is there run defense since it seems it's still the weakest part of their defense? -- Kris Arndt Utah
Yes, improving the run defense is something we've heard coach Zimmer stress as a priority plenty of times during the offseason, training camp and the preseason. It's also the key for this defense to take the next step. If you're good against the run, particularly on early downs, then you are more likely to put the opposing offense in 3rd and long situations. That is where you can start to create turnovers because you turn the pass rush loose and either sack the quarterback to create fumbles and/or force the quarterback into quick decisions and interceptions. This will create short fields for the offense, and, viola – you have complementary football. In 2015, the Vikings ranked 17th in total rushing yards allowed (1,748) and 21st in rushing yards per attempt allowed (4.3). What's amazing is they were still the No. 5 scoring defense in the NFL, which tells you how scary-good this defense could be if it was consistently stout against the run.
With Adrian Peterson the starter and Jerick McKinnon his backup, I haven't heard much about Matt Asiata or the rest of the running back room? How do you think the group is going to look going into the regular season? -- Blake Dufner Richmond, MN
As you've seen by now, Asiata is the third running back on the 53-man roster and the Vikings also kept FB Zach Line. Undrafted free agent CJ Ham was also signed as a member of the practice squad. Asiata's role on the team is key because he's not only the third running back who can contribute in both the run game and pass game, but he's also an important and multi-phase player on special teams. This is one of the strongest positions on the Vikings roster because it has top-end talent, versatility and depth.
When it comes to the practice squad players, are they only vulnerable to being signed by another team while waiting to clear waivers? Is there a pecking order of who gets to claim players on waivers first? And are practice squad players fair game all season? -- Mike Gulbranson San Antonio, TX
Practice squad players are free to negotiate and sign with another team, but they cannot sign with their own team's upcoming opponent after the sixth day preceding the upcoming game. If they do sign with another team, that team must count the player on its 53-man roster for three games even if they subsequently release or trade that player, or assign that player to their practice squad. There are more rules and stipulations related to the practice squad, and you can read all about them by checking out the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
With the preseason wrapping up, it is evident that Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman have a solid plan on building this team! What do you attribute there "underrated" draft success to? -- Thaddeus Dixson
A key component to the Vikings success in the draft is the communication and overall synergy between the scouts and the coaches. It's a combination of the scouts putting in time and hard work to find talented players along with the coaching staff doing a good job of communicating to the scouts what they need from players at certain positions. Then, the coaches do a great job of taking the young players and developing them into the scheme and incorporating their already-developed ability into a part of the scheme that fits them.
Can you speak a little bit about the noise level in U.S. Bank stadium in comparison to the old Metrodome? Is it louder, quieter, or about the same? -- Ryan Halverson Santa Rosa, CA
It's hard to tell so far because we've only played preseason games and the energy level and intensity of the noise that's created just isn't the same as in the regular season. Being in the building several times for various events since it opened, though, my hunch is that U.S. Bank Stadium will be extremely loud and may even rival the noise level that was created by Vikings fans in the Metrodome.
I have a comment to all Viking fans, Viking players and most importantly your quarterback. Although I live in Massachusetts and I am a die-hard Patriots fan, I do feel horrible for the injury that Teddy Bridgewater sustained. Please let him know that he will be in my thoughts and I sincerely hope he has a full recovery. I look forward to seeing him on the field next year. -- Carol Gabriele Dartmouth, MA
Now there is a classy, heartfelt and encouraging note straight from the Patriots covenant. Thank you, Carol, and good luck to your team in 2016.
If anything positive can be said about Bridgewater's injury, it is simply that the rest of the team can be extra motivated to win for him. They should want it bad enough for themselves, but if it were me, I would be more motivated to do it for Teddy, the leader of the team. More importantly, the rest of the team is freaking awesome! A QB is only a catalyst; a spark to ignite the engine. Our engine is still intact, and with players like Peterson, a good offensive line and a dynamic, tough-as-nails defense, we are going to be in good shape. With or without Bridgewater, I think the playoffs are within reach and if people step up to truly live the destiny they have prepared for, then we can be a Super Bowl contender. Don't you think? -- Brian Carter Layton, UT
I do think so, yes. I love this mindset – it is exactly the type of mindset a championship team should have. I am not surprised a member of Vikings Nation has demonstrated it. In fact, many Vikings fans have emailed with a similar sentiment and it has been awesome to read.
I'm still definitely bullish on the Vikings because A) They've bought into Coach Zimmer's system; B) Rick Spielman and coach Zimmer have built this team the right way; C) This team's character is just downright impressive; and D) They don't defeat themselves. Think of all the teams that are talented but that defeat themselves. The Vikings don't do that and that's a big deal. -- Gary Gross