Sam Bradford #1 “Deep Ball Project”/Down-the-Field Passer in 2016

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I know that some of you doubt Sam Bradford for some reason and I do understand that a lot of that comes from the consistent disappointment that the Vikings have provided at the quarterback position since… Almost always, at least since Tommy Kramer. So, I’m sure some of you will take this with a grain of salt, or two, before your shot of bottom shelf tequila, but still, it appears as if the Vikings starting quarterback, Bradford, is atop another statistical analysis of accuracy last season.

This particular analysis was done by Jonathan Kinsley, who writes for the NFL and is the creator of the ‘Deep Ball Project’. So, let’s take a look at what he came up with:

As you can see, Bradford scored better than every other quarterback (With a minimum of eight games started in 2016). I’m personally not really aware of how this is scaled, as in each category there is a QB that ended up with better numbers (In that specific category, ie: Bradford has a 43.2% completion rate of passes < 20 yards, while the number two quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, has a 49.2% completion rate). I’m assuming that the numbers are all averaged and that Bradford’s average was better than everyone elses, grading him out at an A+.

He did have about a third less attempts than Rodgers (44 vs. 61), for example, but did best him in interception percentage (2.3% vs. 6.6%). So, again, it really looks like the Vikings lucked out by acquiring Bradford, who has clearly earned the right to be the starter regardless of what happens with Teddy Bridgewater’s recovery. At this point, this is just another sign that the Vikings need to bring in some weapons on offense to take advantage of Bradford’s play. It’s encouraging that they made a pass (Pun?) at former Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, as that shows that they’re willing to bring in play-makers and are willing to invest in the team (Despite what Riki Ellison has to say).

Some are eyeing Josh Gordon, who is apparently looking to get back into the league. If he can stay sober, and if the Browns are willing to part with him, it’d be a huge boon for the Vikings offense, especially if parts of Norv Turner’s offense are still present (As Gordon lead the league in receiving in his sophomore season with over 1,600 yards while playing under Turner in 2013, despite only playing 14 games (He broke an NFL record that season by recording back to back 200 yard games)). I’ve long… Longed for Gordon, however he still is awaiting more punishments from the league so this is most likely a pipe dream. There are others that want the Vikings to sign former Arizona Cardinal wide receiver, Micheal Floyd.

Personally, I think that the key lies in Moritz Boehringer, as I explained in another article this morning. If they were able to convert Boehringer to the tight end position, it’d open up the offense and completely change how defenses cover the Vikings passing game. Especially considering Bradford’s tendency to look to his tight end(s) in the red-zone and the lack of a pure play-maker (As of the writing of this article) at the wide receiver or running back position, it makes sense. Not saying that I wouldn’t be open to the team adding another player either through free agency (Floyd), a trade (Gordon) or the draft (Mixon), but I believe that the first thing they need to do is to get Boehringer the ball by any means necessary.

Either way, we at least know that we have the best deep ball passer in the league under center starting week one. We now simply (ha) need to find some players that can get open down the field. Stefon Diggs is a great receiver, but he strikes me more as an extremely talented number two, a neo-possession guy. The same goes for Adam Thielen. The Vikings know that they need a big bodied, down the field receiver, which is why they went after Laquon Treadwell in last year’s draft (Despite the fact that they really wanted Josh Doctson and ended up making a panic pick in Treadwell). This season will be make or break for Treadwell, but considering the fact that the Vikings attempted to bring in Jeffery, it looks like things aren’t going well with the sophomore receiver. So…

… If the Vikings do believe that this team is a few players away from contending (As I do), the next few weeks will be crucial. Again, we can rest assured that we have a more than capable quarterback, we just now need to surround him with the talent he deserves. It’s basically the opposite of the problem(s) that we’ve had as fans for the past decade or so, so, again, keep an eye out over the course of the next few weeks leading up to the draft. That’ll show you how much faith the team has in it’s players and whether or not they’re going to go for “It”. Again.

 

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