"Trying to figure out a way to create more explosive plays," Bradford said Thursday, via The Star Tribune. "That way we're not having to work so hard every drive. You know -- 12-, 13-, 14-play scoring drives where you know if we can have some more explosive plays maybe we can have some shorter scoring drives that will help us."
It's not the first time this offseason Bradford has harped on the need to generate more chunk plays.
Bradford completed 71.6 percent of his passes last year while tossing 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions. The cornucopia of three-yard tosses, however, became maddeningly frustrating. Of Bradford's 3,877 yards passing last season, 52 percent came from yards after the catch, which speaks to the short-pass operation. Especially problematic was Bradford's performance on third downs, where he ranked 26th in yards per attempt at a minuscule 5.8 yards per toss. The Vikings' offense often sputtered when it got behind in down-and-distance.
The struggles to generate explosive plays last year were more a product of a porous offensive line than Bradford's arm. The quarterback ranked first in deep ball accuracy last season, per Pro Football Focus, ahead of dive-bombing MVP Matt Ryan.
"A lot of it is what the defense is giving you, the protections, and things like that," coach Mike Zimmer said of generating big plays. "We always have shots with the deeper throws; it just depends if you can get them off in the game."
Bradford's tendency to take the safe throw runs counter to his stated desire to explore the explosive corner of the playbook in 2017.
Pat Shurmur's offense will still consist mainly of high-percentage short throws, but if the Vikings' offensive line is better than the waffle-cone barrier Minnesota employed last season, we expect Bradford to expand the field more this year. The quarterback vocally requested more "explosive plays," now he'll have to execute them.