49 days ago, Sam Bradford was the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Sunday, Bradford will wear purple-and-white in Lincoln Financial Field as the leader of the undefeated Minnesota Vikings’ offense.
Bradford, who the Eagles traded to Minnesota for draft picks just over a week before the season started, is playing the best football of his career, statistically — he’s thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions in his first four starts, and completed 70 percent of his throws.
The trade has defined both teams’ seasons.
For the Eagles, it jump-started the next phase of the franchise, rocketing Wentz into the spotlight in Week 1. Thus far, he’s answered the call. For the Vikings, the acquisition of Bradford saved what seemed to be a lost season after franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with an ACL injury. Instead, Minnesota is the best team in the NFC right now.
So, naturally, the question will be asked — which team won this trade?
Doug Pederson took a diplomatic, and realistic, approach on Wednesday morning when he called the trade a “win-win” for both teams.
“In our case, our first-round, second overall pick getting a chance to play this early, getting his feet wet and learning, putting us in a great spot at 3-2,” Pederson said. “[Wentz has] played a lot of football, he’s getting better every week. And from [Minnesota’s] standpoint, they got a good quarterback. He went to a playoff-caliber football team with a tremendous defense, and I know Adrian Peterson’s not there, but they’ve got a good run game. I thought it was a win-win for both sides.”
Bradford’s numbers are turning plenty of heads, especially for those who had written him off as a middling quarterback at the very best. There’s still an argument to be made that he’s playing this well because of the Vikings’ defense, but it’s hard to say Bradford isn’t playing good football in his own right.
Pederson, for his part, said he expected Bradford to play this well if he’d remained the Eagles’ starting quarterback this season.
“I was fully confident [Sam] was going to have the type of success he’s having now with Minnesota,” Pederson said. “He came off the preseason with us here at an all-time high, he was throwing the ball with accuracy, with decisiveness. He was feeling comfortable with the offense. I fully expected him, having him with our starters, to have the same type of numbers that he has there. It’s not a shock.”
Pederson said he’s ready for the hot-take analysis of the quarterback trade that will surely follow the game. In his mind, there’s no weight in the stuff.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of peripheral stuff said and written about these two. Whoever wins, this one played better than that one, this and that and the other, and the decisions,” Pederson said. “And I get all that.
“But the decision has been made. He’s our guy, and we’re going to get him ready to play each and every week. His preparation every week, that I see and what we’ve seen on offense, we’re headed in the right direction.”
Ron Brooks (calf), Jason Kelce (foot), Bennie Logan (groin), Marcus Smith (groin) are not expected to practice today, per Pederson.
Bryan Braman, Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Matthews, Leodis McKelvin, and Rodney McLeod are all expected to practice today, per Pederson.