Is two weeks enough time for Sam Bradford to be ready?
That’s the unanswered question the Vikings will have to figure out before Sunday night’s nationally-televised matchup against the Green Bay Packers, when they’ll be making the regular season debut inside the new and luminous U.S. Bank Stadium.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said he will not publicly name a starter, just as he didn’t last week before Shaun Hill started the season opener in Tennessee.
“I just figured it’d be good for sports talk radio,” Zimmer said Monday, in jest.
He added the decision has not been made.
“I think it’s good for my team, if we continue to move forward,” Zimmer said. “I haven’t decided yet, so we’ll figure all that stuff out. You know, Green Bay is an awful good team, everybody is picking them to go to the Super Bowl. We’re just trying to be in the fight and keep our cards close to the vest.”
General Manager Rick Spielman did not deal the Vikings’ first-round pick next year for a quarterback to sit on the bench. So it’s a safe assumption that whenever Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, is ready, he’ll start under center.
Eight days was too quick of a cram session for Bradford to make his first start against the Titans. Hill started and fared decently, going without a sack while completing 11 of 18 throws for 185 yards when aiming at least 10 yards down the field.
Concerns over his long-term durability and production are why the Vikings made the deal for Bradford, who started 14 games for Philadelphia last season and threw for a career-high 3,725 yards.
Zimmer said he thinks it’s possible for Bradford to get up to speed in time to face the Packers, whom the Vikings dethroned last season to claim the NFC North division title. Though he’s always been more comfortable in the underdog role, which the Vikings feel like they’re in after losing starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the season.
“We can’t get caught up in the rivalry,” Zimmer said. “We have to figure out who to block, when to block them and all that stuff. I think it’s great for the fans, but we need to beat them a lot more often for it to be a rivalry.”