ShAMELESS PLUGS and other stuff
When Bill Polian heard the news on Aug. 30 that the Vikings, poised to be on the short list of Super Bowl contenders in 2016, had lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury, he could empathize with the dilemma that their longtime general manager, Rick Spielman, was staring down.
"I knew exactly what he was going through,” said Polian, a six-time NFL executive of the year.
In 2011, Polian’s Indianapolis Colts, who had made nine straight playoff appearances and were two years removed from their latest trip to the Super Bowl, were gearing up for another run when they got word late in the preseason that All-Pro QB Peyton Manning would be out indefinitely because of a neck injury.
Unable to finalize a big trade for a capable starter, Polian watched the Colts start three other quarterbacks, lose their first 13 games and finish a league-worst 2-14.
Of course, that allowed them to draft can’t-miss quarterback Andrew Luck with the top pick in 2012. Unfortunately, Polian and coach Jim Caldwell were fired first. “It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the franchise,” he said. “For us, it turned out to be not so good.”
So naturally, Polian endorses the bold move the Vikings made last Saturday to nab Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles, even though they gave up their first-round draft pick in 2017 and a 2018 conditional pick that could become a second-rounder should Bradford steer the defending NFC North champs to their first Lombardi Trophy.
“[Spielman] had no choice but to pursue that avenue. ... I knew he realized the price was going to be steep because he said as much,” Polian said. “To his credit, and to the credit of the Wilfs, they went ahead and paid the price and did what they needed to do to bring a quarterback in that allows them to continue to pursue the goal they have set for themselves and really add to what is a very good team.”
Now, those Super Bowl dreams, seemingly dashed when Bridgewater went down a dozen days before the start of the season, are back on with Bradford in the fold.
While Bradford isn’t expected to start Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, the 2010 No. 1 overall pick will have the best supporting cast he has had in seven NFL seasons. The Vikings and coach Mike Zimmer have assembled a stacked defense that could be one of the NFL’s best in 2016. And behind Bradford in the backfield will be college teammate Adrian Peterson, the best pure runner of this generation.
Read the rest of the story at StarTribune.com...