Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater blew out his knee 10 days before the start of this season, causing him to miss the entire year and compelling the Vikings to trade for Sam Bradford. It’s rare that we see any single injury knock out a player for more than a season (oftentimes injuries can cause new ones, or rehab can go poorly) but a new report from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole says that within the organization, it’s believed to be a 19-month recovery window.
That means Bridgewater wouldn’t be back until March of 2018 at the earliest.
Bridgewater, 24, had thrown just 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over his first 29 games, but was decent, young, sacked 83 times, and not playing with the greatest set of offensive weapons. Despite his age, you have to wonder if his career is ever going to continue. Not that players haven’t recovered from two years off, but really how bad is this knee injury? Will he ever be able to move the same again? Will it ever be back to the way it was before it happened? What was wrong with his leg in the first place that in a non-contact injury, he was knocked out for two seasons in the blink of an eye?
The Vikings were one of the biggest disappointments this year, starting 5-0 and then losing eight of the next 11 games. Bradford’s touchdown ratio of 20:5 looks good on the surface, but he averaged just 7.0 yards per attempt and threw deeper than 10 yards less often than almost any other QB in the NFL. (If memory serves, only Brock Osweiler took fewer shots downfield.) I disagreed with trading a first round pick for him at the time, and I still stand by that even though Bridgewater will likely miss two full seasons and Bradford happened to be under a new two-year contract. I think Shaun Hill could’ve just as easily guided them to an 8-8 record, and at this point QB has to be a high priority for Minnesota in the draft.
That being said, it’s not their only issue. Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson will almost certainly be released from a contract set to pay him $18 million next year. Left tackle Matt Kalil’s rookie deal is expired and both parties will probably move on. Their first round pick in 2016, Laquon Treadwell, was abysmal as a rookie. Starting corners Terence Newman and Captain Munnerlyn are also set to be free agents, while receiver Adam Thielen is a restricted free agent that I assume they’ll give the first round tender to, if not agree to an extension.
The Vikings offense was one of the worst in the league. I’m not sure Bridgewater returning would’ve made it much better, but the fact that it seems like he’s not coming back any time soon is a reminder that Minnesota has a lot of building to do this year if they want to play more like a 5-0 start than a 3-8 finish.
Also of note: Bridgewater will be a free agent in 2018, when he may or may not be returning. Where he goes and how much they pay him will be really interesting.