Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said earlier in the week that Sam Bradford was day-to-day with a knee injury this week. On Friday, the team announced that Bradford will be unable to start, and they’ll go with Case Keenum instead.
Bradford’s knee didn’t hold up the way he had hoped during Friday’s practice, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. And ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said Bradford would seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Friday.
What happened? Bradford suffered the injury during Minnesota’s Week 1 win over the New Orleans Saints. It was a non-contact injury, and the severity hasn’t been confirmed by the team except that Bradford doesn’t need surgery. Zimmer said that it was the result of Bradford “twisting” his knee.
Bradford had an MRI because he had swelling and pain in the knee. But the quarterback, who has torn his ACL twice, said he thought this injury was of a type he had no experience with, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
Bradford said he wasn’t sure he’d be ready to play this week. Last week, as his team prepared to face the Steelers, he knew his knee wasn’t quite right.
"I think it's one of those things that when I'm ready to go, it'll be pretty clear that there's nothing limiting me and I'm able to go out there and I'm able to play and it's safe for me to go out there and do so,” Bradford said.
What it means for the Vikings: Bradford did return to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday, which was a good sign. But the team determined on Friday that he wasn’t healthy enough to start.
First and foremost, Bradford would give the Vikings a better chance to beat the Buccaneers. Bradford turned in one of the league’s best quarterback performances in Week 1. He completed 84.4 percent of his passes against the Saints, with 346 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Case Keenum, on the other hand, did not impress against the Steelers when he filled in for Bradford in Week 2. Keenum completed just 20 of 37 passes for 167 yards and no touchdowns, and the Vikings lost 26-9.
The Buccaneers defense looked great against the dynamic Bears rushing attack in Week 2, and it forced two fumbles and two interceptions. Tampa Bay is stout on that side of the ball, and having Keenum behind center could be a liability.
A source confirmed to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Keenum took first team snaps on Friday to prepare him for the start on Sunday.