If Vikings can't land Kirk Cousins, does Sam Bradford become sensible choice?

From ESPN - March 8, 2018

All signs are pointing to the Minnesota Vikings making the biggest free-agent splash by signing quarterback Kirk Cousins, potentially for a three-year deal with a ridiculous amount of guaranteed money embedded into his contract.

But what if Cousins' price tag is too high? The free agency market for quarterbacks effectively runs through Minnesota. Where Cousins lands -- with the Vikings or elsewhere -- will spark a domino effect of quarterback signings.

If Minnesota loses out on Cousins, its next option would be to re-sign one of its three free agents from 2017. But what if Minnesota decides the price tag for Case Keenum, which is expected to climb north of $20 million, is too steep for someone they are not sure is the long-term answer? Might the Vikings turn to another familiar option who would not break the bank and allow them to be aggressive other places in free agency?

Mike Zimmer was brutally honest about his quarterbacks at the NFL combine. When discussing Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, Zimmer pointed out the good and the bad.

Many who have debated the Vikings' conundrum have quickly eliminated Bradford's seat from this game of quarterback musical chairs because of concerns about the health of his thrice surgically repaired left knee. Only twice in his eight-year career (2010 and 2012) did he start all 16 games, and back-to-back ACL tears forced him to miss the entire 2014 season.

Zimmer said nothing concerns him about Bradford's knee at the moment, but he acknowledged the issue is "degenerative," adding uncertainty to the quarterback's future.

"It's his history of being hurt," Zimmer said. "That's the monkey wrench in the whole thing. Can you believe he's going to play the 15 games he did two years ago, or he's going to play the one game where he hit the turf this year? That's the big dilemma."

Despite injury concerns, there's reason to believe Bradford might be the best option for Minnesota if others do not come to fruition.

Zimmer praised Bradford in Indianapolis, citing his explosive season-opening performance against the Saints, his tremendous arm strength and accuracy. In 2016, Bradford produced an NFL-best 71.6 completion percentage built on short passes and checkdowns but also led the league in adjusted completion percentage (57.4) on passes 20 or more yards downfield.

Bradford, 30, has shown the potential to become a franchise quarterback. Beyond injuries, the reason it has not happened might be factors that were out of his control.


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