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Sam Bradford Might Be on the Move More in 2017

MANKATO, Minn. — Sam Bradford has spent the past few years on the move.

St. Louis in 2014, Philadelphia in 2015, Minnesota in 2016.

Last year's transition to the Vikings via a trade eight days before the start of the regular season was the biggest surprise.

Based on several plays during Verizon Vikings Training Camp, Bradford could be on the move again in 2017, but this time by design of Minnesota's coaches through play-action, naked bootlegs or runouts as opposed to a standard drop back.

Bradford was asked about the uptick in moving that won't require an 18-wheeler on Monday. He described how it can help an offense.

"I think when you're playing defenses that have good pass rushes, it makes it tough on your offensive line if you drop back to the same spot every time, and if you're running five- and six-man protection, those guys aren't getting a lot of help," Bradford said. "If you can mix-in some play-action, some naked [bootlegs] where I get outside the pocket, or just sprint out and get outside the pocket and change the launch point, it just makes it a little bit tougher for those guys to tee off."

Bradford said he remembered having those aspects for pass plays in his rookie season of 2010 when Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur held the same position in St. Louis.

Shurmur was Vikings tight ends coach a year ago and took over the offense on an interim basis when Norv Turner resigned last November. The interim tag was lifted this offseason, and Shurmur began fully implementing his offensive system.

"You'd probably have to ask Pat (Shurmur) exactly why that's showed up a little bit more," Bradford said. "When I was in St. Louis we did a fair amount of it. I don't know if it just wasn't in last year, so it was hard to implement, and now it's something that we worked on this year to hopefully try to take advantage of. I remember in my rookie year with him it seemed like we ran quite a few naked plays just to get outside of the pocket."

There were a few hints of this late last season when Bradford's mobility helped the Vikings. Sometimes Bradford used mobility out of necessity, and other times — like on Adam Thielen's 71-yard touchdown catch at Green Bay — it was designed into the play. Bradford rolled out to his right, buying time for Thielen to set up and execute a double move that beat a pair of Packers defenders.

Bradford has been accurate in the pocket and out of it. He set an NFL record for completion percentage (71.6) in 2016, despite multiple injuries on the offensive line.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings want to give Bradford more time to survey his receiving options this season.

"When he's got time, he can throw the heck out of the ball," Zimmer told beat reporters Monday.

Shurmur was asked about expanding the use of Bradford's mobility after the Dallas game last season.

"Well, I think Sam doesn't really get credit for being able to move around much because a lot of time he doesn't," Shurmur said. "He's got a good set of legs on him, and he uses them well in terms of being able to run.

"We called some nakeds that got him outside of the pocket intentionally," Shurmur added. "Then, you saw the other night when he was able to escape the pocket and make plays. Those are really damaging to the defense. They feel like they've got you, and then all of a sudden you're out making plays with your feet. I think Sam has the ability to do that. Sometimes it's designed, and sometimes it's forced. We had both scenarios [against the Cowboys]."

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