Sam Bradford

NFC Notes: Peterson, Vikings, Kuechly

Bruce Arians came up with the idea for the Cardinals to acquire Adrian Peterson, doing so after his team’s blowout loss to the Eagles. Arians was driving to the team facility when the concept emerged, Lars Anderson of Bleacher Report notes. The Cardinals coach watched every Peterson carry with the Saints to make sure the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer still had enough to be a solution for an Arizona rushing attack that still ranks last in the league because of its anemic start. Arians then took the idea to Steve Keim, who called Saints GM Mickey Loomis, Anderson reports.

He ran hard and could get something out of nothing,” Arians said. “We had finesse backs on our team. I was looking for that power guy. He was it, brother, he was it.”

Immediately installed as Arizona’s starter, Peterson turned back the clock and rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Cardinals debut. The former five-time All-Pro said previously he wants to play into his late 30s, but that dialogue stopped in New Orleans. But Peterson has resumed that talking point now as a Cardinal, eyeing “four or five” more seasons.

I felt like my ability was going to waste in New Orleans,” Peterson said, via Anderson. “The system just wasn’t a good fit for me. But I still want to play four or five more years. I still can run a high-4.3 40. And I’ve always loved getting the ball deep in the backfield, which is what we’re doing here. I feel like I’m built for this offense.”

Here’s the latest from the NFC, shifting to Peterson’s first two NFL employers.

  • The Vikings are starting Case Keenum again this week, the team announced. Mike Zimmer, though, said he believes Sam Bradford will play again this season, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This will be Keenum’s fifth start of the year. Bradford’s status has gone from somewhat surprising inactive in Week 2 to being potentially out for six weeks to having the knee be categorized as worse than what’s been reported. Bradford consulted with a specialist last week, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com notes. The eighth-year quarterback saw this same specialist previously, per Zimmer. Teddy Bridgewater returned to practice but likely remains far away from playing in a game.
  • Luke Kuechly will miss the Panthers‘ Week 7 tilt against the Bears after suffering a concussion in Week 6. David Mayo will replace Kuechly at middle linebacker, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk notes. Kuechly has missed time because of concussions in each of the past two seasons but was progressing in the protocol earlier this week.
  • Minnesota will also be without Stefon Diggs this weekend, with the Vikes’ No. 1 wide receiver set to miss a second straight game because of a groin injury.
  • Saints practice squad offensive lineman Cameron Tom recently had his salary bumped to $27K+ per week, according to a source who spoke with Nick Underhill of The Advocate. He was previously making $7,200 per week. Assuming he stays on the taxi squad through the end of the season, he’ll earn $344K as opposed to $122K. His weekly pay is now equal to a minimum salaried player on the 53-man roster ($465K). It’s a sign that the Saints think highly of Tom and that other teams have thought about signing him away.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Ngata, Seahawks

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).

Teddy Bridgewater, meanwhile, will receive an important checkup tomorrow. He is eligible to begin practicing this week, and the physical will determine whether that is feasible. Sources close to Bridgewater say he is ready to go, and if he is, in fact, activated from the PUP list this season, Rapoport says his contract will not toll, which means he will be a free agent at the end of the season. If he is not activated, the contract will toll and he will remain under club control through 2018.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says it is possible that DT Haloti Ngata, whose contract expires at the end of the year and who suffered a season-ending bicep injury last week, returns to the team in 2018. However, Birkett believes it is more likely that the longtime star retires.
  • The Seahawks are making a concerted effort to improve their O-line via trade, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says the team is focused on landing disgruntled Texans star Duane Brown. We heard last week that the Texans intend to retain Brown, but that could always change if Seattle’s offer is strong enough.
  • The 49ers released NaVorro Bowman earlier this week, and Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the team will continue to look to trade and/or release some of its long-term veterans over the next couple of weeks as it embarks on a full-fledged youth movement.
  • The 49ers will carry $4.774MM of dead money on the books in 2018 following Bowman’s release, but they will save all $9.45MM of his 2018 pay, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • Rapoport believes the Saints may be in the trading mood after failing to trade for Bowman, and he says the team could consider trading LB Hau’oli Kikaha (Twitter link). Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune, however, suggests (via Twitter) that is not likely.

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.

NFC Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bucs, Cardinals

Davante Adams remarkably scored two touchdowns for the Packers just 10 days after taking a violent hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, and it’s clear that Adams is in line to become Green Bay’s No. 1 wideout at some point, opines Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Of course, that would first entail the Packers extending the 24-year-old Adams, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next spring. While Green Bay could hypothetically deploy the franchise tag on Adams, the club is unlikely to invest $16MM+ on a single pass-catcher given the investment it already has is Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. A new deal for Adams, who managed 997 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago, could potentially top $10MM annually.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • 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.
  • The Buccaneers selected Patrick Murray as their new kicker on Monday, but the club reportedly prefers former Chief Cairo Santos among the available free agents, according to Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). Santos was in Tampa Bay yesterday to take a physical, but he’s roughly two weeks away from full health. The Buccaneers, then, could theoretically give Murray something of a two-week tryout before circling back to Santos if Murray fails. Murray, Santos, Andrew Franks, Josh Lambo, and Mike Nugent were all in consideration to replace the struggling Nick Folk as Tampa’s kicker.
  • Before signing Justin Drescher to replace the injured Aaron Brewer, the Cardinals worked out four other long snappers, tweets veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Andrew East, Colin Holba, Jeff Overbaugh, and Drew Williams all auditioned for Arizona before the Cardinals went with Drescher. General manager Steve Keim & Co. appear to have gone with experience, as Drescher was the only member of the group who had appeared in an NFL game. Drescher, 29, played in 16 games per season for the Saints from 2011-16.

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.

NFC Rumors: Bradford, Seahawks, McAdoo

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.

Now for more from around the NFC:

  • Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy looked sharp in last week’s win over the Colts, and Rapoport tweets that, with fellow running back Chris Carson likely to miss the rest of the season, Seattle is treating Lacy like the starter. However, the team may still elect to use a committee approach rather than devote a lion’s share of the carries to Lacy.
  • Seahawks G Luke Joeckel is expected to play against the division-rival Rams today and then undergo knee surgery during the team’s bye next week, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Joeckel has performed reasonably well in his first year in Seattle, and it is unclear whether his surgery will force him to miss the team’s next game, which will take place on October 22.
  • Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is not on the hot seat despite his team’s horrific 0-4 start, according to Rapoport (video link). Rapoport spoke with a team source this week who pointed out that the club does not have a quick trigger when it comes to major decisions, and New York still believes McAdoo will be a successful head coach in the NFL.
  • Rapoport tweets that the Buccaneers‘ kicker audition, which is expected to take place tomorrow, will include Josh Lambo in addition to Mike Nugent and Andrew Franks, whose names were previously reported. Incumbent kicker Nick Folk‘s future with the team will become clear after that audition, though it is possible Tampa Bay retains Folk.
  • We learned earlier today that the 49ers have commenced efforts to extend running back Carlos Hyde.

NFC North Notes: Bradford, Adams, Lions

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.

Here’s the latest from the rest of the NFC North, continuing on the injury front in Green Bay.

  • Davante Adams has surmounted the concussion protocol and expects to suit up for the Packers against the Cowboys, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. This would come as a slight surprise given the severity of the hospitalization-forcing hit Adams absorbed the last time he was on a game field, but the fourth-year wide receiver did have an extra three days to go through the protocol. Demovsky heard Adams was cleared just before the team boarded the plane for Dallas, and Mike McCarthy said earlier this week he would have a good idea about Adams’ playing status by that time. Adams also suffered a concussion last season but was cleared without missing a game.
  • With each passing game, the chances are increasing the Lions will cut Eric Ebron rather than pay him the $8.25MM he’d be owed in 2018 via the fifth-year option, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes. Ebron has played in all four Detroit games but only has 11 catches for 87 yards. Meinke notes fourth-round rookie Michael Roberts could serve as a replacement at a fraction of the cost next season.
  • The Lions will want to hang onto Ziggy Ansah, but their top pass rusher’s age, recent injury history and sporadic production since 2016 — sacks in just three of the past 20 regular-season games — will make the 29-year-old defensive end a franchise tag candidate, Meinke writes. Meinke doesn’t envision, at least as of now, the Lions making a long-term commitment to Ansah based off this recent work sample. Nothing’s emerged on an extension front since March, when the Lions were planning a re-up. Questions about the Ghana native’s actual age surfaced earlier this year as well. Needless to say, the next three-plus months will be big for the 2014 first-round pick. It cost $16.9MM to franchise a defensive end this year, so that number could approach or surpass $18MM in 2018.
  • 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.

Sam Bradford To Miss Week 4

For a third straight week, the Vikings will be operating without their starting quarterback.

Mike Zimmer said (via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, on Twitter) Thursday that Sam Bradford will miss another game, signalling a third Case Keenum start. Bradford remains out with a knee injury that cropped up before Week 2. Zimmer said (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, on Twitter) Bradford is “feeling better, just not ready to play.”

Keenum struggled against the Steelers but led the Vikings to a dominant home win over the Buccaneers last weekend. He’ll face the Lions on Sunday. Bradford has not encountered any structural damage with a knee that’s endured plenty of it in his career, but it’s become a pain-management issue. And it’s clear from this determination three days before Minnesota’s Week 4 game the eighth-year quarterback isn’t ready yet.

The bone bruise Bradford’s sustained has become a significant issue for the Vikings, who traded for Bradford — in spite of his past knee trouble with the Rams — because of Teddy Bridgewater‘s severe knee injury. Bridgewater remains on the PUP list but is eligible to return come Week 7. With these weekly announcements piling up, it’s not clear if Bradford will be ready to return by then. That would put the Vikes in a strange spot.

Keenum completed 76 percent of his passes in a 375-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Bucs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Luck, Bradford, Garrett, Hawks

Despite reports that suggested the contrary, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will not begin practicing this week, head coach Chuck Pagano announced. Pagano gave a somewhat vague answer on Luck earlier this week, suggesting that while the signal-caller was “progressing well,” his return to practice was not guaranteed. Today, Pagano admitted that Luck is “at least” a week away from embarking on a throwing program. Luck, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, was not placed on the physically unable to perform list at the season’s outset, so there are no timetable restrictions on his return.

Here’s more from around the NFL, with a focus on injury situations:

  • Sam Bradford has missed each of the Vikings‘ past two contests as he deals with a knee issue, and while he didn’t practice today, Minnesota is “doing everything it can” to allow Bradford to play against the Lions on Sunday, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. Because Bradford isn’t dealing with any structural damage, pain management is the only barrier to him suiting up. If Bradford can’t go, the Vikings will once again turn to backup Case Keenum, who 25 of 43 pass attempts for a career-high 369 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers in Week 3.
  • After hinting last week that defensive end Myles Garrett was “close” to a return, Browns head coach Hue Jackson once again reiterated that the 2017 No. 1 overall pick could attend practice this week, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. “If he is able to play, we might not play him the whole game,” said Jackson. “So we’ll see how that unfolds if he’s able to go. We’ll find out more as we go through the week.” Garrett has been sidelined for the start of his rookie campaign after suffering an ankle injury during the preseason.
  • The Seahawks are expected to be without running back C.J. Prosise on Sunday as he deals with an ankle ailment, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Prosise hasn’t been a major contributor to Seattle’s offense thus far, as he’s managed only eight rushes and six receptions, but he has played on nearly a third of the club’s offensive snaps. The Seahawks will continue to lean on rookie Chris Carson — with dashes of Eddie Lacy and/or Thomas Rawls — when they face the Colts and their 11th-ranked (by DVOA) rush defense.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Benjamin, Vikings

Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin gave fans a scare on Sunday when he re-injured his surgically repaired left knee. Fortunately, the early word on the ailment is positive and it appears he did not suffer a major injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. One source added that he is “fine.”

It sounds like Benjamin, who missed the 2015 season with a torn ACL, will not be out of action for long, if at all. That’s good news for Carolina, particularly since the injury bug already has them without center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Vikings still don’t know whether they’ll have Sam Bradford in action on Sunday when they face Detroit, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. “It’s day to day, and we’ll go from there,’’ coach Mike Zimmer said. The good news for the Vikings is that Case Keenum looked great against Tampa Bay this weekend, completing 25 of 33 passes for a career-high 369 yards and three touchdowns. He could get the call again in Week 4 if Bradford’s knee is not in good shape.
  • Should the Seahawks trade for offensive line help? That’s what one reader asked Brady Henderson of ESPN.com, but the beat writer says that’s harder than it sounds. First of all, the NFL has an overall shortage of quality offensive linemen, meaning that the Seahawks are far from the only team with needs up front. Yes, the Seahawks have made two trades for offensive linemen in the past five weeks, but Matt Tobin and Isaiah Battle are both backup types. To acquire a starter, they’d have to part with much more than a fifth or seventh round pick. The Seahawks’ best chance to boost the offensive line was in March or April. Now, the 1-2 Seahawks pretty much have to get by with what they have.