Kyle Rudolph didn’t get to catch many passes from Sam Bradford, but he reckons that if he did the Minnesota Vikings might have won the Super Bowl in 2017. Speaking to the media after his release from the Vikings this week, Rudolph said that he “sincerely believe(s)” that Minnesota would have won the Super Bowl if Bradford was healthy because he was “an unreal passer.”
Kyle Rudolph on Sam Bradford: “I sincerely believe that we win a Super Bowl in 2017 if Sam is healthy. Such an incredibly talented dude, an unreal passer when his body was right.” #Eagles fans will not believe what players and execs thought of his arm talent— John McMullen (@JFMcMullen) March 3, 2021
Bradford, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft by the St. Louis Rams, started 16 games in two of his first three seasons but was never fully healthy again. After missing nine games in 2013 and the whole season in 2014, Bradford was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. After one season with the Eagles, Bradford was traded to the Vikings on the eve of the 2016 season after Teddy Bridgewater’s devastating knee injury that year.
During his first season in Minnesota, Bradford started 15 games and threw 20 touchdowns with only five interceptions, leading the league with a 71.6% completion percentage. Bradford was off to a phenomenal start in 2017, completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the New Orleans Saints, but he was placed on injured reserve shortly later because of wear and tear following two ACL surgeries.
Minnesota went 13-3 that season, including 11-3 with quarterback Case Keenum, and that thrilling last second divisional round playoff win over the Saints with a desperation bomb to Stefon Diggs. Bradford had actually been activated back to the roster prior to that game but head coach Mike Zimmer stuck with Keenum.
The Vikings then lost in the NFC Championship game to the Eagles team that had dealt Bradford to them, losing 38-7 to who else but Nick Foles.
Bradford started three games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, going 0-3 with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He has not played in the NFL since. Bradford earned $20 million for his final season in Arizona.
Rudolph won’t be playing with Bradford now but as a free agent, he can pick just about any quarterback he wants as his next teammate. One possibility could be former NFC North division-mate Matthew Stafford.
Rudolph, 31, has only caught 67 passes for 701 yards over the last two seasons, spanning 28 games. But he’s been reliable in that he only has one drop on 167 targets over the last three years and he’s also caught 11 touchdowns in that time. The Rams could be looking to add a veteran tight end to pair with Tyler Higbee now that Gerald Everett is a free agent.
It seems like the veteran tight end might like to pick a team that he thinks can win the Super Bowl.