Sam Bradford’s strong start in Minnesota is getting better with time.
Sure, Bradford has no interceptions, but his impressive statistics go well beyond that. To wit, some of the Minnesota Vikings quarterback’s most impressive feats:
In a matchup of former No. 1 overall picks against Eli Manning on Monday night, Bradford not only won, he dominated the statistics. Bradford completed 26 of 36 passes for 262 yards, a touchdown and a 101.9 rating. Manning completed 25 of 45 passes for 261 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 63.3 rating.
In fact, Bradford was the only one of eight former first overall picks at quarterback playing in Week 4 that won. The seven losses by former No. 1 overall quarterbacks tied the most losses in one week. That selected category of quarterbacks went 2-7 in Week 3 of the 2012 season, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Does his early success with the Vikings make Bradford a so-called “franchise quarterback?”
“I don’t even really think about that, to be honest. My mentality is to come in here and try to get better. I try to improve,” he said. “Obviously with this being a new system, new situation, it’s even more important for me to come in, be open-minded, learn from what our coaches and our players have to say and just try to get better and be a good teammate for everyone in that locker room.”
His start to the season is more impressive when considering when Bradford started his immersion in the system, only one month and two days ago. Because of his preseason trade to the Vikings, Shaun Hill got the start in Week 1, making the Vikings the first team to start 4-0 with two different starting quarterbacks since the Cardinals did that in 2012, according to Elias, which points out that the Cardinals went 1-11 after that 4-0 start.
The good news for the Vikings is that Bradford is the first Vikings quarterback since Randall Cunningham in 1998 to throw at least one touchdown and no interceptions in each of his first three games (Cunningham did it for five straight games after becoming an injury replacement for Brad Johnson in Week 2).
Through three games, Bradford has a 105.5 passer rating and a 69.5 completion percentage, third in the NFL behind Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo.
He leads the league in percentage of passes completed (77.8) in the fourth quarter, going 14-for-18 to help close out games.
He is also first in second-half completion percentage (78.3), completing 36 of 46.
He is third in passer rating (123.5) inside the red zone, bested only by Cam Newton (138.7) and Andrew Luck (123.8).
His four touchdowns without an interception are bested only by Carson Wentz, his former Eagles teammate who has five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Bradford is sixth with 37.9 percent of his attempts going for first downs.
He is fourth in passer rating (106.9) in the shotgun.
“I’m not really sure what I expected,” Bradford said about his quick efficiency with the offense. “I think last week it definitely got better, the fact that we were able to start running the football, were able to convert some third downs to keep ourselves on the field.”null