There are many things that come into play when discussing the impact on the Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are out a quarterback in Sam Bradford and forced to make due with Case Keenum until someone gets healthy. After last season’s repercussions from the Teddy Bridgewater injury during last year’s preseason, it may be the most impactful injury to the Vikings ever.
Let us go through the timeline. Bridgewater goes down last summer and forces Minnesota to take action and trade their first round pick for Bradford. Bradford played well in his 4-0 start, throwing for six touchdowns. However, he went 3-8 with the team and threw for 14 touchdowns along with five interceptions to finish the season.
After the season, the team drafted running back Dalvin Cook and center Pat Elflein as their notable picks in the second and third rounds. They gave Xavier Rhodes and Everson Griffen extensions, keeping together a stud defense but extending neither of their quarterbacks, leaving question marks about the future of the signal caller. Now Bradford has gone down with a knee injury yet again, and are forced to stick with Case Keenum at quarterback. Cook is out and the Vikings are stuck with the same problem as they had last season: a great defense that will probably have to carry the team yet again.
What could have been
If Bridgewater stays healthy, they do not trade away the pick, and because of the team chemistry and the way the team performed under Bridgewater the year before, this could have been a playoff team.
Whether they win or lose they still have their pick. Their pick was the 14th in the first round at 8-8. At that spot they could have taken star defensive end Derek Barnett, which is who the Eagles took. Safety Malik Hooker, defensive end Jonathan Allen and cornerback Adoree Jackson were also available at the spot. Or assume that they play better and grab a 21st pick. They still could get a player like tight end O.J. Howard, defensive end Takkarist McKinley or corner Tre’Davious White. With either spot, they grab a great defensive player while still grabbing Cook and Elflein.
The other side
The other side of this is they sustain the Bridgewater injury, but take the loss to the season. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but the move would have been to just accept the injury, going with a mediocre season and then taking the pick along with the next season assuming that Bridgewater recovers, as he seems to be doing. Instead they lacked a great team last season and are stuck with a backup quarterback to start this season anyways, but have no draft picks to compensate.
The intent is not to blame Bridgewater for an injury he has no control over. Nor to blame the organization for going after an ulterior option at quarterback in an attempt to save the season. It is more to magnify the impact of an injury, especially to a quarterback. It is also a great reminder on why teams stay pat and try to use a backup to plug a hole made by injury. The price of the trade can be incredibly steep and there is no guarantee that the new players stay healthy. This is a cruel game that offers plenty of twists and turns, with every move holding weight.