Eight days was just not enough time for a player to learn an entire playbook, especially at the quarterback position. It was clear that Bradford needed time to get to know everything, as would be expected.
Learning a new playbook isn’t easy, but Bradford has been working hard day and night to learn the new offense and it seems as though things are starting to pay off. He said that he is far more comfortable this week than he was last week and that comfort level is clear to his teammates.
“You can see he’s getting a little bit more confident with everything, a little bit more comfortable,” wide receiver Charles Johnson said. “He’s understanding the concepts and the details a little bit better, so that’s credit to all the work he’s put in off the field studying the game plan and our concepts and everything. He’s done a great job.”
Having confidence in what you are doing is important for any quarterback.
When Bradford first started practicing with the Vikings it was clear that he wasn’t as confident. Johnson said that from time to time you would hear him have to ask the coaches to give him the play a second time because he did not know them. But this extra week studying the playbook has made a noticeable difference in his confidence level.
“You could tell, at first, it was new to him,” Johnson explained. “He’s not used to the play calls, so you would hear them ask a little bit early on, ‘Could you spit that back to me?’ Now he’s doing better. He knows the play calls and now he’s getting to where you hear the play call and he may know it before it’s even finished. He’s getting more comfortable with it.”
Bradford has even started staying late after practice with his receivers, throwing passes to them as they run routes.
“I think it’s good with all of the guys,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “… Guys go run a route and get open and a guy throws him the ball.”
The extra post-practice time is a way for Bradford to get a better feel for them, how they run routes and their speed. It’s also a way for them to get used to the way he throws the ball.
“The more reps you get the more in-tuned you’re going to get with people,” Johnson said. “That’s the game of football. The more you do anything, the better off you’re going to become. The more you study, the better you’re going to know that thing. The more we’re out here, run routes, catch passes from him, he learns the offense. The more he sees it, the better the offense is going to be.
“It’s good just to catch a ball and it’s good to work with the quarterbacks to get timing down, so they can see how you run routes and everything. It’s beneficial for both.”
The Vikings will host the Green Bay Packers this Sunday and, while head coach Mike Zimmer might know who he plans to start, he has not made it public knowledge and declined to say if and when he was going to tell the team. However, with the way Bradford has been progressing and the fact that he is staying late to work with Johnson, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, it seems to indicate that it will be him.