Minnesota Vikings Rumors & News

Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater Cleared To Practice

Teddy Bridgewater will soon be able to return to the field. The Vikings quarterback has been cleared to practice, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com hears (on Twitter). He got the green light from the very same doctor who performed the surgery on his dislocated knee. Teddy Bridgewater (vertical)

Bridgewater suffered a gruesome knee injury last August and missed the entirety of the 2016 season. At the time of the injury, it wasn’t certain when he would return or even if he would able to. After more than a year of difficult rehab work, Bridgewater is on the verge of being able to play.

Whether Bridgewater actually gets to see the field this season will depend on a few factors. Vikings starter Sam Bradford has been sidelined for the last game-and-a-half with a knee injury, but backup Case Keenum has proven to be a capable fill-in. If Bradford returns to full health or Keenum continues to roll, Bridgewater might not get the chance to take the field in 2017. However, he could be called upon if one or both QBs cannot get the job done.

Bridgewater will begin practicing on Wednesday. If the Vikings take Bridgewater off the PUP list, they will trigger a three-week window before having to decide whether to place him on the active roster or park him on injured reserve. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that the team expects to activate him this week or next week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater

The Vikings are facing a quarterback crossroads, as are the quarterbacks themselves. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.comSam Bradford traveled to New York late this past week to begin Regenokine treatments in hopes of getting inflammation out of his ailing knee (the treatment involves drawing blood, spinning it down, and re-injecting it into the knee over the course of a few days). He is doing everything he can to ease the pain in his knee, but the fact that he missed three games due to the injury and then was pulled in the second quarter of last week’s contest is obviously not a good sign. In fact, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports said today that Bradford’s knee situation is worse than people know (Twitter link).

Opinion: Vikings Should Extend Case Keenum

  • The Vikings should offer an extension to backup quarterback Case Keenum, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Keenum has been called on to appear in four games (three starts) in relief of Sam Bradford, who is still dealing with knee complications. He’s performed well, completing 64.5% of his passes for four touchdowns and zero interceptions, but his contract — like those of Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater — expires after the 2017 season. An extension would allow Minnesota to lock in a quality reserve for another year or two, while giving Keenum more cash and the possibility of competing for a starting job in 2018. Bradford has already been ruled out for Sunday’s contest against the Packers, so Keenum will earn a fourth start.

Vikings’ Bradford, Diggs Out With Injuries

The Vikings announced that they will be without both quarterback Sam Bradford and wide receiver Stefon Diggs when they take on the Packers this weekend. It’s perhaps not a great sign that both players have been ruled out completely two days before gametime. Sam Bradford (Vertical)

Bradford took a beating in the Vikings’ win over the Bears and was forced off of the field in the first half. He has no new injury to his knee, but the “wear and tear” he suffered is cause for concern given his history. The good news is that the Vikings won with Case Keenum under center, so they feel alright about starting him again this week. If they have to go longer than one week without their top QB, however, it could be a problem for the Vikings.

Diggs, meanwhile, was not able to practice on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday due to a groin issue. Groin injuries have a tendency to linger, so it’s a situation to monitor even beyond Week 6. Through five games, Diggs has 23 catches for 395 yards and four touchdowns. He hasn’t had a ton of grabs, but he has the fifth-highest receiving yardage average in the NFL on a per-game basis. Without Diggs, the Vikings will be leaning even more on Adam Thielen (No. 6 in per-game receiving yards) and the recently activated Michael Floyd.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Notes: Bradford, Ridley

  • The Vikings‘ head trainer says quarterback Sam Bradford is not dealing with a new injury to his knee, but does have “wear and tear” on his left knee, which has undergone two ACL operations, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. Bradford returned Monday night following a three-week absence, but couldn’t make it through the first half before experiencing an issue with his knee. Minnesota didn’t offer any timeline on Bradford’s return, meaning Case Keenum (and possibly the returning Teddy Bridgewater) will be under center for the time being.
  • Stevan Ridley, who spent four days on the Vikings‘ roster last week, is staying in the Minneapolis area as there is a possibility he’ll be re-signed to the club’s active roster, Tomasson reports in a separate piece. The Vikings are currently carrying only Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon at running back, although fullback C.J. Ham can also handle tailback duties. Ridley, 28, handled only three carries during the 2016 campaign.

Vikings Activate WR Michael Floyd

The Vikings have activated wide receiver Michael Floyd from suspension, the club announced today. In a related move, Minnesota has released running back Stevan Ridley.Michael Floyd (vertical)

Floyd will make his Vikings debut on Monday Night Football when Minnesota faces the division-rival Bears. The Vikings landed Floyd on a one-year deal that contained no guaranteed money, and will give him a chance to rebound to his former heights. Once a receiver who regularly topped 800 yards receiving with the Cardinals, Floyd was charged with extreme DUI and subsequently waived last season.

The Patriots claimed Floyd off waivers, but the 27-year-old didn’t contribute much for New England down the stretch run. Playing time could be hard to come by with the Vikings, as well, as the club already has two established wideouts in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Floyd could potentially take over as Minnesota’s third receiver, but he’ll face competition from Laquon Treadwell and Jarius Wright.

Ridley, of course, is most well-known for his four-year run with the Patriots, especially his 2012 campaign in which he totaled more than 1,200 yards on the ground and 12 rushing touchdowns. Injuries have sapped much of the now 28-year-old’s value since then, however, and Ridley has become something of a journeyman. He’s been employed by the Jets, Lions, Colts, Falcons, and — most recently — Broncos since 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Zimmer Anticipates Bradford Monday Return

Sam Bradford could be on the verge of returning for the Vikings after what’s been a longer-than-expected absence. Mike Zimmer told ESPN (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press) on Sunday night he anticipates his starting quarterback will be ready to reclaim the reins Monday.

The Minnesota starter took most of the first-team reps this week in practice, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com called Bradford “increasingly likely” to suit up against the Bears. But Zimmer as of Saturday had no update on his starter.

It appears Bradford will be ready to return from his knee injury and suit up for the second time on a Monday-night game. Case Keenum started the past three weeks for the Vikes, and the team has gone 1-2 in that span. In Bradford’s one start thus far this season, he completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns. So his presence stands to elevate the Vikings’ hopes considerably.

While Bradford could well return Monday night, this left knee problem will obviously be something to monitor for a while considering he tore that ACL twice as a pro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sam Bradford Likely To Play This Week

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford took the majority of first-team reps with the offense this week, according to Stacey Dales of the NFL Network (via Twitter), and her colleague, Ian Rapoport, tweets that Bradford looks increasingly likely to suit up for Minnesota’s matchup against the Bears tomorrow night. Bradford, of course, has missed the team’s last three games with a knee injury after a brilliant Week 1 performance, and the Vikes have gone 1-2 in that time. His return will be most welcome.

Poll: Best NFC Free Agent Addition?

A quarter of the NFL season is now in the books, which means we can accurately grade each and every free agent signing, right? Right?Andrew Whitworth (Vertical)

Even if that’s not the case, it’s still possible to get a sense of how free agents are playing and whether they’re living up to their contacts through four games. After taking a look at the AFC on Friday, today we examined the best free agent signing on each NFC club before asking you to vote on the top overall NFC addition.

One note: we only looked at newcomers, so free agents that re-signed with their original clubs (Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short or Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones, for example) aren’t included. On to the list!

Arizona Cardinals

  • Antoine Bethea, S: General manager Steve Keim & Co. have made a habit of adding aging veterans — especially on the defensive side of the ball — with success, and the Cardinals have seemingly done so again in the form of Bethea. Playing alongside Tyrann Mathieu and another age-30+ defensive back in Tyvon Branch, Bethea has managed one interception and three pass breakups while helping Arizona to the No. 12 ranking in defensive DVOA. And his three, $12.75MM deal can be easily escaped if he does begin to show signs of wearing down later on in 2017.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Dontari Poe, DT: After narrowly missing out on a Super Bowl title earlier this year, the Falcons decided to run it back, returning in 2017 with much of the same roster. Poe was Atlanta’s major addition on defense, as the club waited until the athletic defensive tackle’s market fell enough to allow it to ink him to a one-year, $8MM pact. Poe, who was regularly playing more than 1,000 defensive snaps with the Chiefs, is on pace to play on roughly 750 defensive snaps this season, and limiting his action could be helping his overall performance. Through four games, the Falcons are 13th in pressure rate, up from 20th in 2016.

Carolina Panthers

  • Julius Peppers, DE: Peppers, now in his second stint with the Panthers, was hardly Carolina’s most high-priced free agent signing this spring. That honor goes to $55MM man Matt Kalil, who has been — perhaps unsurprisingly — underwhelming at left tackle. The Panthers are playing Peppers on a reduced snap count, and the 37-year-old has already put up 4.5 sacks through a quarter of the season. He’s an absolute freak of nature who can still bend the edge with ease.

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

  • N/A: The Cowboys allowed most of their secondary to walk out the door during free agency, and veteran Nolan Carroll was their only real external addition. He’s been one of the worst defensive backs in the league in 2017.

Detroit Lions

  • Ricky Wagner, T: Detroit upgraded at both right guard and right tackle this offseason, swapping out Larry Warford and Riley Reiff for T.J. Lang and Wagner. Although both new Lions linemen have been efficient thus far, the nod goes slightly to Wagner. Both Lang and Wagner are earning the same $9.5MM annual salary, but Wagner is three years younger and under team control for a longer period. Additionally, the Lions average more yards (4.41 to 3.04) when running around the right end than through the center/guard.

Green Bay Packers

  • Jahri Evans, G: In a sequence that is completely out of character, the Packers actually signed a number of outside free agents over the past several months, including cornerback Davon House (a former Packer) and front seven defenders Ahmad Brooks, Quinton Dial, and Ricky Jean-Francois. But the best newcomer is on the offensive side ball, as Jahri Evans has played every snap for Green Bay. A lifelong Saint until 2017, Evans has helped the Packers’ offensive line to a No. 3 ranking in adjusted line yards at a cost of only $2.25MM.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Andrew Whitworth, T: Perhaps no other club made a larger upgrade at one position than the Rams did in going from draft bust Greg Robinson to Whitworth at left tackle. The entire Rams’ offense, including quarterback Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, has gone from looking completely incompetent to leading the league in points scored. Even at the age of 35, Whitworth leads all tackles in pass rush productivity and has allowed only one pressure, per Pro Football Focus.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Mike Remmers, T: The Vikings overpaid for both Remmers and left tackle Riley Reiff, but both deals have allowed Minnesota to return to average along the offensive line, a massive step-up from their 2016 front five. Remmers is earning nearly half of what Reiff is making but ranks slightly ahead of the former Lion in PFF’s offensive tackle rankings. Additionally, Remmers hasn’t allowed a sack this season, and the Vikings have been much better at running right than left.

New Orleans Saints

  • Larry Warford, G: Warford replaced another player on this list (Jahri Evans) and has continued to perform as a solid NFL guard. On an offensive line that’s seen some reshuffling due to injuries to Terron Armstead and Zach Strief, the Saints’ interior — which also includes left guard Andrus Peat and center Max Unger — has remained stable. New Orleans has been excellent at running up the middle, as the club ranks sixth with 4.62 yards per carry behind its center or guards. The Saints control the 26-year-old Warford through the 2020 campaign.

New York Giants

  • N/A: Brandon Marshall has yet to top 70 yards receiving in a game, and managed only two receptions in Weeks 1-2. And the signing of fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison never made sense given how much 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) the Giants run. He’s earning $4.5MM annually and has five total receptions.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • LeGarrette Blount, RB: Although he’s not going match his NFL-leading 18 rushing touchdowns from 2016, Blount has already shown that he’s worth the one-year, $1.25MM deal he inked with the Eagles earlier this year. He’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry thus far, and he figures to be even more involved in Philadelphia’s offense following injuries to Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood. Tough as ever, Blount managed 127 of his 136 Week 4 yards after contact.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Brandon Fusco, G: The 49ers and new general manager John Lynch spent a good deal of money this offseason, handing $10MM+ in guarantees to veterans such as wide receiver Pierre Garcon (who’s been average at best) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (who suffered a season-ending injury in August). The most astute signing, however, may have been guard Brandon Fusco, who signed for just $1.4MM total. He’s played every offensive snap for San Francisco and graded as the NFL’s No. 18 guard, per PFF, making him a remarkable value.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Luke Joeckel, G: Joeckel’s one-year, $8MM contract with the Seahawks never made much sense, as the former draft bust hasn’t performed in the NFL and probably didn’t have much of a free agent market. He’s not even playing tackle, which makes the salary all the more confusing. But PFF grades Joeckel as the No. 26 guard in the league, meaning he’s been a starting-caliber offensive lineman through four contests. Plus, it’s hard to fault nearly any single-season pact, no matter the cost.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • DeSean Jackson, WR: Jackson hasn’t been the perfect complemenet to Mike Evans that many projected — while he’s still averaging a robust 17.8 yards per catch, his catch rate is at a career-low 48.3%. Jackson led the league in yards gained off defensive pass interference a season ago, but he’s garnered only one DPI for 15 yards in 2017. Always only play away from a long-distance score, Jackson can still live up to his contract if Tampa Bay’s offense starts clicking.

Washington Redskins

  • D.J. Swearinger, S: In a defensive backfield that’s without Su’a Cravens (left squad list) and DeAngelo Hall (PUP list), Swearinger — who left the Cardinals for a three-year deal in the nation’s capital — has helped stabilize the Redskins’ secondary. Through a quarter of the season, Washington ranks sixth in defensive DVOA under new coordinator Greg Manusky, a 19-spot leap from 2016.

So, what do you think? Which of the free agents has been the best signing through a quarter of the 2017 season? Vote below, and leave your thoughts in the comments section:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sam Bradford Questionable For MNF

Despite Sam Bradford having expected to have a good idea about his Monday-night playing status after the Vikings‘ Saturday practice, the quarterback is officially listed as questionable for Week 5. Considering the starting signal-caller was declared out during the past two work weeks for Minnesota’s Week 3 and Week 4 games, this is progress. But Mike Zimmer (via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, on Twitter) either doesn’t look to have seen much more from Bradford over the past two practices compared to Thursday’s, or he’s keeping encouraging news close to the vest. Although the coach said his preferred passer looks “good,” this is likely going to be a game-time decision — one that could end up with Case Keenum starting a fourth consecutive game.

  • The Bears are likely to have a full-on skeleton crew at inside linebacker Monday night. With Nick Kwiatkoski doubtful to return from a pectoral injury sustained in Week 2, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter), the Bears would be without their top three inside ‘backers. Danny Trevathan will serve his one-game suspension Monday night, and Jerrell Freeman (pec) is on IR. Christian Jones and a to-be-determined player will start there against the Vikings.