MANKATO – The Vikings are working on a few more contract extensions, according to General Manager Rick Spielman, but Sam Bradford’s does not appear at this time to be one of them.
Bradford, who passed for 3,877 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions last season, is entering the final year of his contract. That timing means the Vikings are approaching a crossroads at quarterback with Bradford’s deal (and a potential franchise tag option in the back pocket) coming up alongside Teddy Bridgewater’s continued recovery.
The Vikings have not rushed to be locked in one way or another.
“There really hasn’t been anything that has changed since we talked about it in the spring,” Bradford said Wednesday of his contract. “My focus is to come in and get better and prepare myself for the season. If something changes, then I would look at it. But at this time, it’s not really on my radar.”
Bradford, 29, has said he would like to find a long-term home after playing his first seven seasons for three different teams.
He was traded to Minnesota a week before the 2016 regular-season opener and emerged efficient for a limited Vikings offense, setting the NFL completion percentage record (71.6 percent) but ranked just 18th in yards per pass.
Now he’ll again be playing for a new deal after a full offseason in the Vikings system, a familiar coordinator in Pat Shurmur and help from the front office in the additions of running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray along with left tackle Riley Reiff.
There’s no rush to make a decision at quarterback, according to Spielman.
“Those calls will come in time,” Spielman said. “I think we are very fortunate to have two quarterbacks like that on our roster. I know what Sam did was unbelievable for the circumstances.”
Bridgewater, 11 months removed from his devastating knee injury, was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday after taking his physical. He’s also entering the final year of his contract, but the Vikings would retain his rights for 2018 if he remains on PUP during the regular season.
Bridgewater has progressed during his rehab, though he remains on a long road of recovery and has yet to practice since the injury. Spielman noted a recent “positive report” from Bridgewater’s doctor.
The 24-year-old quarterback has inspired fans with social media videos chronicling his comeback efforts, but he has not yet been medically cleared to practice.
Spielman said the Vikings are content to let the quarterback situation “play itself out.”
“I know Teddy and what he means to this organization and how hard he has worked in his rehab to get back on the field as quickly as he can,” Spielman said. “So, I’d rather face those type of questions or issues as we move forward and it’ll play itself out.”
Either Case Keenum or Taylor Heinicke is expected to back up Bradford this season.