After quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season ending injury in the preseason, the Minnesota Vikings decided to trade a couple of future draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire quarterback Sam Bradford. The trade did little to improve the Vikings NFL odds of making the playoffs because most NFL experts believed the Vikings gave up too much to acquire Bradford, who has a history of not being able to stay healthy, and hadn’t done anything in his career to prove he was worth the picks the Vikings gave up for him.
Three games into the season, it appears that both teams benefited from the trade as the Vikings and Eagles are the only unbeaten teams in the NFC, which has to be the biggest surprise in the NFL so far. When the teams made the trade, the Vikings were in dire need of a quarterback and the Eagles, who had named Carson Wentz as their starter, had to remove any doubts Wentz had about being the team’s quarterback.
While people felt the Vikings gave up too much, the team pulled the trigger on the trade in order to help their defense. Bradford wasn’t brought in to put up big numbers, the team simply needed a veteran quarterback that can move the chains effectively so their defense can get some time to rest when they are on the sidelines, which would have been difficult if the team didn’t have a reliable quarterback.
The gamble seems to have paid off for the Vikings because not only has Bradford been able to play efficiently, he has also put up some good numbers in his two starts. The defense has also benefited from Bradford’s strong play, and the numbers show it.
Minnesota is third in the league in scoring defense, 6th in total offense, 7th against the run, 9th against the pass, and 1st in sacks.
With the defense playing well, Bradford hasn’t been asked to put the team on his back, which is something he has been asked to do in the past. Without the pressure of being the franchise savior, Bradford has shown that he can be very efficient and careful with the ball.
The Eagles defense has also been instrumental in Carson Wentz success so far. Wentz, who is the first rookie to win his first three starts without throwing an interception, has benefited from a strong defense that has been able to hold opponents in check.
The Eagles basically shut down the Steelers offense on Sunday, which was impressive considering how good Pittsburgh’s offense is. So far, their defense is 1st in scoring defense, 4th in total defense, 2nd against the run, 8th against the pass, and 6th in sacks.
With the success of their quarterbacks, the expectations for both teams have gone up, because both have solid defenses and quarterbacks that haven’t made too many mistakes. While it is unlikely that they both maintain their current pace, it is likely that they will make the playoffs.
For the Eagles, making the playoffs will be a big deal because the team was written off after an offseason in which they got rid of a lot of talented players.
The Vikings wouldn’t have been expected to make the playoffs without Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, but after their performance on Sunday, it is clear they have enough talent to make up for the loss of their best offensive players. If Bradford stays healthy, they could make a deep playoff run.