Sam Bradford then opened the 2017 season in spectacular fashion on Monday Night Football, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 29-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints. However, he woke up the following day experiencing significant pain and swelling in his left knee. He has played in only one game since, against the Bears on Oct. 9, from which he had to be removed because of the pain.

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Bradford reported Friday morning to the team’s medical personnel that he was feeling fairly pronounced pain in his knee, a day after there was optimism expressed by Zimmer that the quarterback was feeling better and had a chance of playing against Tampa Bay. Bradford also sat out the Vikings’ Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Vikings, who have a first-round bye and open the postseason at home on Jan. 14, now have up to three weeks to decide whether to put Bradford back on the active roster for the playoffs. Bridgewater and Kyle Sloter are the current backups to Keenum.

Bradford, who led the Vikings to a season-opening win over New Orleans before experiencing pain in the twice-repaired joint, had the latest procedure done on Nov. 7. He was placed on injured reserve the following day, so the team could activate Teddy Bridgewater from the physically unable to wholesale jerseys perform list. This was the first week Bradford was eligible to resume practicing with the team.

After starting quarterback Sam Bradford (acquired in a trade with the Eagles in the wake of Bridgewater’s injury) shredded the Saints in this year’s season-opener, a 29-19 Minnesota victory at U.S. Bank Stadium, he was sidelined by a mysterious knee injury that caused him to miss all but one game of the 2017 campaign.

Nike Vikings #8 Sam Bradford Purple Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey
Nike Vikings #8 Sam Bradford Purple Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

Once Bradford returns to practice, the Vikings have a three-week window to decide whether to move him to the 53-man roster. Much of what will determine whether Bradford is available for the playoffs will be based on how he looks and performs in practice.

More than anything Zimmer needed to take Bradford out for his own safety. The quarterback couldn’t move in the pocket. Unable to flee any hint of pressure, Bradford was a sitting duck, taking four sacks. Bradford looked scared to drive the ball with his injured lower leg, which led to limp tosses.

Andrews removed several loose particles from Bradford’s knee, cleaned up some ragged cartilage and smoothed out a bone spur, sources said. Andrews has communicated to the club that he is hopeful the procedure will ease the pain that Bradford has been experiencing but offered no assurances on the ultimate outcome, per one source.

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The Minnesota Vikings will be without quarterback Sam Bradford and receiver Stefon Diggs for another week, the team announced Friday. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who welcomed Bradford in 2016 as an emergency replacement for the injured Teddy Bridgewater, laughed when asked about Monday night’s performance.

The offensive line that was praised for its stout coverage of Bradford last week had issues in pass protection against the Steelers. Minnesota couldn’t find ways to establish a consistent ground game against Pittsburgh, either. A week after Dalvin Cook put up 127 yards rushing, the Vikings mustered 91 yards total in the run game.

Sam Bradford returned after missing the Vikings’ past three games with a noncontact knee injury sustained in the season opener and couldn’t finish the first half. He was sacked four times throughout and at some point re-aggravated the injury in his left knee, forcing him to exit the game.

Though Bradford was not seen during the media portion of practice Friday, coach Mike Zimmer said he’s been at the facility. Keenum has been solid under center for Minnesota. With the Vikings’ defense bottling up Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears’ offense, Zimmer couldn’t chance blowing a winnable road game by sticking with Bradford. Keenum gave Minnesota a better chance to win.