Almost one week since the Vikings traded to bring quarterback Sam Bradford in from Philadelphia, it continues to be the buzz around the league. Albert Breer with The Monday Morning Quarterback caught up with Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, who told Breer that Bradford needs to be ready to go Sunday, even though a starting quarterback hasn't been announced.
"To me, it doesn't matter if he starts or has to go in the fourth play," Turner told Breer Wednesday. "He has to be able to do it. But we feel comfortable that he'll be able to play, and we have three more days."
Breer also spoke with Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. He asked Spielman if bringing Bradford in presented a positive pressure for the team, and Spielman said that was fair to say.
"They know what a bad taste last year left, and know how hard we worked all offseason, and through camp, to take the next step," Spielman told Breer. "By doing this, it shows the players, 'Yes, we lost our young QB, who showed so much improvement, and took strides in his third year, but we're not gonna throw the season away.' … Everyone is really excited, and they know that in the situation we were dealt, I'll never stand idle and just say, 'It is what it is.' "
Goessling: Vikings defense working toward 'elite'
Minnesota's defense has improved significantly with each of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's first two seasons. Now entering 2016 with almost all defensive players returning from last season's roster, Zimmer is continuing to push his players to improve.
ESPN's Ben Goessling said the Vikings are aiming for the "kind of defense that can carry a team to a championship." He wrote:
The [starting] group returns all 11 starters, and a handful of key role players, from a team that gave up the fifth-fewest points in the league. And the Vikings' defenders have learned to conform to the exacting standards of a coach who isn't all that impressed by any of it yet.
Goessling said three years in the defensive scheme helps bolsters players' confidence and comfort level, and there are a few key areas they will look to focus on developing this season – namely, run defense and creating more turnovers.
Goessling said the unit's strongest area is in creating pressure on opposing offenses, especially in the red zone and in third-down situations.
Only two teams in the league created more third-down pressure than the Vikings did last year, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and only five pressured quarterbacks more frequently in the red zone. The Vikings only brought extra pressure 26.6 percent of the time, but Zimmer's vaunted double-A gap blitz package helped the team become the most effective blitzing defense in the league, with pressure on 49.4 percent of dropbacks with five or more pass-rushers.
View images from the Thursday, Sept. 8 practice at Winter Park.