As Sam Bradford enters his second year with the Minnesota Vikings, he hopes to build off his great first season he had last year. The eight-year quarterback was acquired by Minnesota September 3 of last year, just a week before the start of the regular season, from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The University of Oklahoma-alum came in strong for the injured Teddy Bridgewater, playing 15 games and continuing to set records, both in the league and for the franchise. Bradford set an NFL record for completion percentage and a franchise-record for completions with 71.6 percent and 395, respectively, in 2016. He also became the first quarterback in the history of the NFL to throw less than five interceptions while attempting more than 550 passes.
“Last year I was just trying to figure out how to call plays when I got to Minnesota, whereas now I feel really comfortable with what we are doing. I think we are just trying to fine-tune what we already do well and trying to find some new wrinkles that are going to help us,” Bradford said of being able to have a full offseason with the team.
The Heisman Trophy-winner will look for a more balanced offense and use solid receiving backs in Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray to drive the ball down the field with a stronger offense. Cook and Murray will give Bradford more options for the passing game where Adrian Peterson lacked as a pass-catcher.
“Trying to find a way to make more explosive plays, trying to maybe find a way to get the ball down the field a little bit more that way we aren’t having to work so hard every drive,” said Bradford.
Tight-end Kyle Rudolph paired with wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen accounted for 75 percent of Bradford’s touchdowns, about 60 percent of his completions and about 70 percent of the quarterback’s passing yards. Those three will continue to be top targets in the 2017 season.
He has also assisted Offensive Coordinator Pat Schurmer to help develop the offensive line and look for new possibilities in developing plays that can help the team explode effectively.
“I think that is what is great about Pat is that he is not stuck in his ways. It’s not these are my plays and this is my playbook, we’re not going to add things to it. He is constantly looking to add new things, things that will make us better. So I think with that mindset you are constantly evolving,” Bradford said of Schurmer.
Despite only one connection last year for only 15 yards, Bradford believes that second-year wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has improved from his 2016 performance and is someone that can be used in some tight situations.
“He has come a long way just from what I’ve seen from when I got here last year to this point this year. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s got strong hands and he does a great job of making contested catches when he has the opportunity,” Bradford said. “It is nice to have a guy like that that you can put on the backside and know you can throw into some tight windows and know he has the ability to come down with it.”
Bradford also set rookie records in 2010 with 354 completions and 590 attempts, earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
“I think we have a great group of guys in that offensive meeting room. I think we have a lot of talent in a lot of positions,” he said of the 2017 roster.