Sam Bradford is out. Case Keenum is in. And Teddy Bridgewater is on the PUP, a decision that could turn into a costly mistake for the Vikings.
The news broke like wildfire Friday afternoon as Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer announced that Sam Bradford would miss his second consecutive game. In his place, Case Keenum once again takes over the reins at quarterback in a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unquestionably, a better situation for the backup quarterback than last week’s matchup at Pittsburgh.
Still, one has to wonder what the scenario would look like if Teddy Bridgewater weren’t on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Recently, Darren Wolfson of KSTP Sports and The Scoop Podcast spoke on the Purple FTW! Podcast about Bridgewater. In the podcast, Wolfson mentions that Bridgewater looks great physically and could be on the Vikings roster right now. A couple of days prior to the podcast, NFL Insider Jay Glazer of FOX Sports echoed similar sentiments towards Bridgewater’s knee.
Regardless, that doesn’t mean Bridgewater could start this week, let alone start in the next couple of weeks. Even Wolfson says this in the podcast. But, with Bradford seeking a second opinion on his left knee from Dr. James Andrew, there’s a case to be made that having Bridgewater on the roster would be the best case scenario.
Even so, placing Bridgewater on the PUP seemed like a great idea heading into the season, especially with Bradford at quarterback. Coming off a career-threatening knee injury, Bridgewater could use the six weeks to strengthen his knee and come back fully healthy.
On the other hand, there’s reason to believe that placing Bridgewater on the PUP was to avoid an awkward situation, not a result of his health.
I mean, think about it. Two capable starting quarterbacks, in pads, sharing the same sideline. Not to mention, the likely backup being an immensely popular fan favorite in Minnesota. That just feels like a publicity nightmare waiting to happen.
So, the Vikings put Bridgewater on the PUP, giving Bradford time to solidify his status as starting quarterback.
Fast forward to now, the Vikings’ decision with Bridgewater looks like a potential mistake given the circumstances. This is especially true if Bridgewater was ready to start the season, although we may never know for certain.
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Yes, I’m all about playing it cautious with Bridgewater, but having him on the roster to begin the year as the third quarterback wouldn’t have been risking much. Furthermore, practice time could have led to a quicker return to the field. Undeniably, an ideal result if Bradford misses extended time and Keenum performs inadequately as backup.
Instead, Bridgewater is forced to wait six games before he can be added to the roster. He also will need a couple weeks of practice before being ready to take the field. Essentially, the Vikings are stuck with Keenum for awhile unless they turn to rookie Kyle Sloter due to something unforeseen.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking at the worst case scenario here. Realistically, Bradford could return sooner than later and Keenum could perform adequately in relief. Yet, the Vikings haven’t had a great history of things going right.
If they don’t go right, the decision to place Bridgewater on the PUP may become a mistake that could have prevented a poor outcome to the season.