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Sam Bradford Becoming More Fluent in Vikings Language

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –When Sam Bradford first set foot on the Vikings practice field in early September, the play calls sounded like a foreign language. He now needs a lot less translation and has become more comfortable communicating to others.

"It seems to just hit my brain a little bit quicker," Bradford told Twin Cities media Thursday. "It's a little bit easier for me to process. It seems like there's not as much thinking going on."

Bradford said as he grows more and more comfortable in the offense, he'd welcome the opportunity to make more checks at the line of scrimmage. Although Bradford doesn't currently have much input on the game-plan process, he said he communicates his preferences to Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner.

"At the end of the week, I try to be pretty vocal about what I'm comfortable with, what I like, maybe what I don't like and why I don't like it," Bradford said. "Coach Turner has done a great job about listening."

Conversely, the conversation then opens up for Turner to explain his reasoning behind a certain play call or situation.

"There's been some times where I've said I don't like something, and [Turner] has said, 'Well, think about it this way. We really like it versus this look, so if we get it, just try to get the ball here or there,' " Bradford explained. "That's been awesome, too."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he appreciates Bradford's flexibility and willingness to work with the existing system. According to Zimmer, it's common to meet quarterbacks halfway in terms of changing the offense, because a new quarterback will eliminate plays they don't like.

With Bradford, the process has been much more fluid.

"The communication on the offensive staff has been good," Zimmer said. "I think it has helped that [tight ends coach] Pat Shurmur was with him in St. Louis and Philly, so I think maybe some of the translation helped that way, but Sam has done pretty much what we've tried to do."

Bradford's ability to adapt quickly has been helpful in more ways than one. Playing with two different offensive linemen – T.J. Clemmings and Jeremiah Sirles in place of the injured Matt Kalil and Alex Boone – didn't rattle Bradford at Carolina last week.

"It didn't affect me at all," Bradford said. "I thought they both played really well – they both played really hard. That's one of those things that's nice to know as a quarterback, that if something does happen during the course of the game and one of those guys is asked to step in there and play, I've got all the confidence in the world in them, given how they played last week."

In a conference call with media members Thursday morning, former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss said he likes the chemistry he's seen with Bradford thus far.

"A lot of people had [questioned bringing] Sam Bradford there, but it is still early, and I like what I'm seeing coming out of Minnesota," Moss said.

Moving forward, Moss said continued success and moving the ball downfield will rely partially on solid offensive line performance and also Bradford's connection with the receiving corps.

"Offensive line play, I think, is important, and then communication is very important," Moss said. "Looking at the Giants, I think they're going to maybe throw some different looks at Bradford, knowing he's only been there a few weeks.

"So, the Vikings have to pick and choose when to go downfield and at the same be able to communicate," he added. "I wouldn't be surprised on Monday if they send some pressure in there after Bradford and make him get that ball out early, so let's see what the offense can do."

After spending the past few weeks acclimating to a new team, this week Bradford is prepping to face a Giants squad that's quite the new-look roster, as well.

Bradford faced the Giants twice with the Eagles in 2015. Over those two games, Bradford was 54-of-76 for 600 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions with an average passer rating of 84.8. The team he'll see Monday night, however, isn't the same as a season ago.

Know the New York Giants key contributors on offense, defense and special teams heading into Week 4's matchup.

"I think if you look at their defense, they've got seven or eight new starters, so it's a completely different defense," Bradford said. "Conceptually, some of the things that they're doing had some carryover from last year. But at the same time, it's a little different."

Bradford said he's preparing for talented pass rushers in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon and that they're a focus heading into the game.

"We've got to make sure that we block them," Bradford said. "Can't let them disrupt the run game, can't let them get after us in the pass game. Just making sure that those guys are contained."

Bradford said after all the anticipation and hype surrounding his first game for Minnesota against Green Bay, he's feeling much more settled and comfortable headed into Week 4.

"With two games now under my belt, I just feel much better about the process," Bradford said. "How we prepare during the week, how we practice and what the operation is on game day."

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