In one of the most shocking NFL trades of 2016, the Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles eight days before the 2016 season started, and the price was hefty.
Although the trade was initially panned, Bradford had quite a season in Minnesota from a personal standpoint, setting career highs in yards (3,877), completions (395), threw 20 TDs to five INTs. Bradford also set an NFL record with a 71.6 completion percentage.
While the numbers don’t lie, stats can be misleading. Despite Bradford’s impressive statistical production the Vikings offense sputtered at times and, due to a lack of a consistent run game, Minnesota fizzled out.
Minnesota, in an attempt to jump start a lagging offense, named Pat Shurmur offensive coordinator mid-season. Shurmur is confident that Bradford will be much better in his 2nd season with the Vikings, aided by his participation in a full training camp with the team.
When he comes back [for the Vikings‘ offseason program in April], him having the ability to sit down with the players he’s going to play with through the offseason, we’ll do things that fit his eye, that fit with what we do,” Shurmur said via ESPN.com.
“We’ll be able to practice that more. When he came in this year, everything was running parallel and real fast. He had to get up to speed with what we were doing, he had to quickly learn the players he was playing with. That connection between the quarterback and the skill players is extremely important, and that chemistry is built really in the offseason, when you get the chance to slow it down and run the individual routes that are within the concept, so he gets a feel for their body language and vice versa.
That’s where you’re hopeful that you’re going to see a big jump in efficiency in terms of the passing game.”
It’s easy to assume that both Shurmur and Bradford will be more comfortable in their respective roles this upcoming season, as they will both of had the luxury of a full offseason to prep and build chemistry.