Vikings Coach: Bradford Has "Degenerative" Knee
MINNEAPOLIS - No one knows exactly how the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback situation will play out in free agency, where the team could lose all three of the veterans who took snaps at the position in 2018.
That apparently includes head coach Mike Zimmer, who cast doubt on two of those three quarterbacks' future in Minnesota on Thursday.
A week after NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that Week 1 starter Sam Bradford "absolutely intends to play in 2018" after a November knee surgery revealed that the quarterback's infamous ligaments were "intact," Zimmer told media at the scouting combine that Bradford has a "degenerative" knee.
That's hardly a ringing endorsement of the veteran's health entering free agency, although Zimmer, per Pelissero, also said "Bradford was skiing last week," so "getting through a full season is the real unknown" -- and the factor that figures to force the former No. 1 overall draft pick and 2016 trade acquisition to a new home in the coming weeks.
In regards to Case Keenum, the man who replaced an injured Bradford and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game but is also set to hit free agency, Zimmer wasn't any more convinced.
As reports from Pelissero and The Athletic's Chad Graff noted, the coach emphasized that Minnesota would be taking a gamble if it based any negotiations with the former backup only on his performance from 2017:
Can Keenum repeat his 2017 breakout? Zimmer: “You think he can, but it’s just kind of guessing.” Noted they had a good team around him.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 1, 2018
Mike Zimmer on Case Keenum: “Is he the guy that played for the Rams or is he the guy that played for us?”— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) March 1, 2018
All of this, of course, also comes amid Vikings general manager Rick Spielman telling the media that he expects Teddy Bridgewater, the other soon-to-be unsigned quarterback on the roster, to become a free agent.
Some have continued to suggest that, instead of retaining any of their own three passers, the Vikings are actually preparing to pursue Kirk Cousins, who expects to become the prize of free agency once his team, the Washington Redskins, makes official a trade for the Kansas City Chiefs' Alex Smith.