Monday night will be week 5 of the NFL season thus far and it seems like we’ve had a different Vikings team to look forward to each week so far as fans/writers. From the injury to Sam Bradford before Week 2 against the Steelers, to the injury to Dalvin Cook in the second half Sunday, it appears as if the Vikings are an ever-evolving team and that’s not a good thing (just ask the 2016 Vikings). Unlike the 2016 Vikings though, this Vikes team has depth at the positions that have been injured, with Case Keenum doing an okay job playing for Bradford and the Vikings adding Latavius Murray from free agency before drafting Dalvin Cook this off-season. Despite that depth at the RB position, however, this team does need to pad that depth with players and it did that yesterday by signing former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley.
Ridley, who is no stranger to ACL injuries himself, had his best season back in 2011, where he logged 290 carries for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. He tore his ACL in 2014 and bounced around the league after returning (with stints as a Jet, Lion, Colt and Falcon in 2015 and 2016) and was one of four running backs that the Vikings worked out this week. Barring further injury at the position or really just in general, this Vikings team needs stability and reliability from their running backs (especially on who may come in to take a knee) and the Veteran should be able to bring that in spades. Beyond that, though, there have been a few reports about the quarterback position this week so hopefully, Ridley will be able to play behind Sam Bradford come Monday night.
Bradford returned to practice yesterday as well and of the reporters that were there… This is what they saw:
— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) October 5, 2017
Bradford is a few weeks out on the phantom knee injury and the Vikings will definitely need him back at full strength to compete for the division crown, especially now that they’ve lost to the Lions for the third time in three games (and at home!). Luckily, they’re facing a Bears team that while better than advertised so far this season, also will be starting a rookie quarterback who has never played an NFL game. They very well could’ve (and arguably should’ve) beaten the Lions last Sunday with Keenum playing mostly horrible, so if he can play even at that level Monday night they should be able to win. The fear is that they’ll rush Bradford back because of Keenum’s unpredictability and also the situation at running back and that’ll create a situation in which he’s plagued by knee issues for the rest of the year. Should that happen, though, it’s also sounding like Teddy Bridgewater is close to returning as well.
According to purplePTSD.com writer Jordan Reid, Darren Wolfson said on Andy Carlson’s Podcast (a show that I’ve been on, twice!) that:
On the @AndyCarlsonShow, Doogie said he saw Teddy Bridgewater throwing off to the side of practice last week. Said he looks really good.
— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) October 5, 2017
While that could cause a lot of issues in the off-season (with Teddy’s contract) it’d be nice to see Teddy back on the field and also nice for the Vikings to have that option should Bradford get injured again, which based on this teams luck the past few… Decades, it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve always been a bigger Bradford guy than Bridgewater guy and considering how high flying this team has been in the passing game, it’d be nice to continue to do that with Bradford as opposed to Teddy (who hasn’t thrown to these receivers in a game setting since 2015). Either way, both are a vast improvement over Keenum, who just seems to be unable to play on a consistent level.
With the Vikings facing the Packers the week after next it’ll be imperative that Bradford is able to play. The good news about this team among all of the doom and gloom is that the defense shut down the Lions offense pretty much to the tune of 3 points. They had the two scoring drives in the second half that were based on short fields and turnovers, but outside of those 10 points they really didn’t give up a lot, despite the fact that the Lions have one of the best QB’s in the NFL. The rush defense has been great so far as well, which is surprising considering that’s been one of their weak spots in years past. A lot of that credit should go to Trae Waynes, who has been struggling against the pass but is one of the best tackling corners in the NFL so far this season (especially in the “flat”). Should the Vikings force the Bears to throw the ball things could get out of control fast for this Bears team that has to already be thinking of 2018.