Sam Bradford No. 1 in Bleacher Report's Top 1,000 from Week 5
After Sam Bradford's Week 5 performance in which he led Minnesota to a 31-13 victory over Houston, Bleacher Report's Doug Farrar – collaborating with a number of other contributors – used an internal grading system and slated Bradford at No. 1 in his ranking of the top 1,000 players from last week. He wrote:
We know that Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team has a stellar defense with playmakers at every level — defense is Zimmer's stock in trade, and he has done a brilliant job in that regard. But it's quarterback Sam Bradford, acquired by Minnesota after it lost Teddy Bridgewater for the season, who could be the difference when playoff time comes around.
Farrar said that when Bradford joined the Vikings via trade in early September, "the perfect marriage of player and scheme was on." He said that Bradford has been a good fit for Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner's offense. Farrar wrote the following of Bradford's Week 5 performance:
He constantly made difficult throws against arriving hits while never putting the ball at risk attacking tight windows. It was one of the best performances from a quarterback in the NFL this season.
Bradford wasn't the only Viking in the top 50 of Bleacher Report's list. He was joined by linebacker Eric Kendricks (No. 7), safeties Andrew Sendejo (No. 14) and Harrison Smith (No. 23) and defensive end Everson Griffen (No. 33).
Rosenthal: 'Bradford is making his teammates better'
Five weeks into the NFL season, Around the NFL's Gregg Rosenthal took a look at quarterbacks throughout the league and ranked them based on their 2016 performance.
Rosenthal slated Bradford in at No. 10, with Aaron Rodgers and rookie Dak Prescott coming just ahead of him.
*Sam Bradford is making his teammates better, and Sam Bradford displays incredible toughness, and Sam Bradford is blowing my mind on a weekly basis, and it's glorious. Every year in July, we *know *that the upcoming season will feature stories more fantastical than the boldest of predictions, yet we never see something like this coming. *
Rosenthal said he was especially impressed in Week 5 when Bradford played so well despite wide receiver Stefon Diggs being sidelined and the offensive line missing starters.
Coming in at one, two and three on Rosenthal's list were Tom Brady (in his first game back), Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger.
Goessling: Vikings offense evolving around Bradford in Peterson's absence
With Adrian Peterson currently on injured reserve after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus, ESPN's Ben Goessling said Minnesota's offense is evolving, and it's been able to around Bradford. He recapped a Vikings drive against the Texans last week:
On Bradford's first throw of the drive, running back Jerick McKinnon immediately slipped out of the backfield, leaving the quarterback alone there to attempt a short throw. On the last play of the drive, fullback Zach Line motioned out to a wide split, again leaving Bradford in an empty backfield before he delivered a 36-yard strike to Adam Thielen for a touchdown.
Goessling said it's a similar offensive shift to the one that occurred around Teddy Bridgewater when Peterson missed the majority of 2014.
In 2014, the Vikings had three receivers on the field for 60.2 percent of the snaps after Bridgewater became the starter. They used three receivers 47.4 percent of the time in 2015, and they're back up to 54.5 percent this season. Of the 169 snaps on which the Vikings have used three wideouts this season, they've been in shotgun for 140 of them.
Goessling said Bradford's ability to release the ball quickly has been to the Vikings benefit, especially after suffering injuries to the offensive line. Bradford is also utilizing McKinnon and Matt Asiata out of the backfield in the passing game here and there.
*Bradford has hit the two backs on nine of his 15 pass attempts in the last two weeks, posting 78 yards on those throws. At that rate, McKinnon and Asiata would account for a combined 624 receiving yards over the course of a 16-game season. *