Garrett Bradbury Has a Shot at Remaining The Starter

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and center Mason Cole. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

I’ve been writing about Garrett Bradbury and his trade appeal for a little while now. A first-round bust, Bradbury offers some upside in the scheme Kevin O’Connell will be fine tuning in 2022. Even still, his anchor (or lack thereof) is tremendously concerning. It would be a controversial selection, but Tyler Linderbaum has a legit shot at going to the Vikings at 12th overall.

Despite my hand wringing and trade theories, Bradbury received some praise from his new HC: “I think Garrett has a lot of great football ahead of him, and I think it’s on us to continue to build a scheme like we have.”

Will this “great football” happen in a purple uniform?

K/O quickly shifts toward the importance of linemen working together. Indeed, o-linemen in this offense are regularly tasked with double teaming a defensive lineman before one climbs to the second level to snag a linebacker. Garrett Bradbury has the capacity to climb to the second level; his athleticism is hard to match at the center spot.

It’s notable, though, that K/O offers so much praise for Darrisaw, O’Neill, and Cleveland. Rather than similarly identify what Bradbury does well – Cleveland, according to his head coach, has great hands and feet – K/O shifts the focus to the offense’s ability to help the front 5.

For this reason, I think the Vikings are still looking at a way to upgrade their center spot. No one can watch the film and be pleased with the level of recent play they’ve received. Heck, Bradbury admitted as much after getting benched last season.

I’m not trying to be unnecessarily critical. The barebones facts are simply that he’s a backup offensive lineman, not a starter. It’s possible he shows improvement in the O’Connell offense, but it would be surprising if he could live up to the first-round draft status. He’s almost 27.

A team who liked Garrett Bradbury heading into the 2019 draft may be inclined to part with a late-rounder for him. A player with starter experience and great athleticism is a fine backup, especially if there happens to be concerns about the starter’s availability for Week 1. As a result, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a training camp trade, or perhaps even a deal around the draft.

If you just listen to what K/O was saying, there could be the impression that Bradbury is the frontrunner for a starting spot. Perhaps he is. All I know is that the Vikings have tried this for three seasons, and last year led to him getting him benched. Moving on could clear a couple million in cap space, a hot commodity these days for the Vikings front office.

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