What Could The Vikings Get in a Trade for Garrett Bradbury?

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

The short answer is not very much. The longer answer is that the Vikings could get something in a Garrett Bradbury trade.

The initial hope was that Bradbury could be the solution for two positions. Pat Elflein was clearly overwhelmed at center, so bringing someone in to take over the snapping duties could lead to Elflein being a guard. The theory was that Bradbury would be a sizeable upgrade at center. Elflein could then deal with less responsibility at guard.

That plan didn’t work out. Elflein was shipped out of town and Bradbury is a bust.

As a result, many Vikings fans have been wondering about a Garrett Bradbury trade. Would anyone be willing to pay anything for him? The answer is yes, though fans shouldn’t hold out hope for very much.

Part of what will make him appealing is his draft position and scheme fit. Minnesota wasn’t the only team to have a first-round grade on Bradbury. In fact, several highly-respected talent evaluators fully believed that Bradbury would become an excellent NFL center. It’s entirely possible that other teams will look at the situation and conclude that the issue isn’t with the center but with the way the team has coached and developed him.

Moreover, Bradbury really can do great things as a run blocker. His reach blocks are impressive, and he can climb to the second level to pick up a LB. If screens are an important part of one’s offense, Bradbury can be a weapon. He gets up the field as well or better than any lineman out there.

Now, the Vikings won’t be getting anywhere close to that 1st round pick they spent on him. It’s the cold, unfortunate truth. We can say this with a reasonable degree of certainty because of his lackluster play and because of the recent history of trades for centers.

It doesn’t happen super often, but teams do make moves for centers when it’s necessary. Coincidentally, the Vikings have been involved in two of the more recent ones. They sent away a sixth for Mason Cole in 2021; they shipped out a 7th in 2018 for Brett Jones. Both players were brought in as depth pieces for the iOL. Keep in mind that both instances involve Minnesota bringing someone in rather than trading someone out.

Even still, there are some good data points here. Depth centers with position flexibility and starting experience can be had for a 6th or 7th. Most of the other center trades involve similar compensation.

When you see a team trade a more accomplished center, the draft capital obviously increases. In 2021, The Cardinals acquired Rodney Hudson and a 7th in exchange for a third-round selection. Keep in mind that Hudson carries close to a $10 million cap hit.

This example, though, isn’t a great comparison for Bradbury. He’s a borderline starter in the NFL, someone who may be capable of providing low-end play in the right situation.

Bradbury currently has the 11th-largest cap hit for the Vikings heading into 2022. Trading him would free up just over $2.25 million, leaving behind nearly $1.85 million in a dead cap charge. $2.25 million is likely more than enough to bring back Mason Cole. If the team can also pick up a late-round selection, why wouldn’t they?

One other thing to keep in mind: it’s possible that a trade doesn’t happen until training camp. If a team loses their starting center late in the offseason, Minnesota’s fourth-year center may be a relatively attractive option.

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