Vikings GM: 'Blood' in water after Bridgewater injury

When Teddy Bridgewater slumped to the turf Tuesday with a horrific knee injury, the course of the Minnesota Vikings' future was altered. The myriad of ways it was transformed won't truly be known for years.

In the meantime, we can get some insight into the thought process that led Vikings general manager Rick Spielman to ship a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick (can become a third- or second-rounder) to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford.

Peter King of The MMQB spoke to both Spielman and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman about the swap. The full oral history of the weekend's chaotic events is worth your time.

One salient point to note from Spielman was the premium prices being asked for any quarterback trade.

"I made a bunch of calls. I am not gonna mention teams. But there was blood in the water, and teams knew it," Spielman told King. "The price was too high. I didn't want to mortgage our future. Some teams asked for a first-round pick and a core young player. I can understand the pick. But we worked too hard over the past three years to put all that time and energy into drafting and developing a solid core of this team. I was taken aback who they were asking for. Players who'd been in the Pro Bowl. I mean, in the off-season, you've got time. There's not blood in the water in the off-season. But now there was."

Teams knew Spielman's back was against the wall. He couldn't ride into the season with a 36-year-old Shaun Hill as the only option. With the uninspiring options of Mike Vick and T.J. Yates on the open market, a trade was the best bet.

Even the trade options weren't plentiful. Mark Sanchez was there for the taking, but a guy who was just beaten out by a seventh-round pick with zero NFL passes under his belt isn't exactly comforting -- even if it would have been cheap. Mike Glennon could likely be had for a steep price. The Bengals would ask for a boatload to part with cheap, solid backup AJ McCarron. When you get to EJ Manuel on the list, you need to stop (and probably take a drink).

Every NFL team uses whatever leverage they can, whether in contract disputes with players or in dealings with other franchises. Spielman's leverage was nonexistent. His only move was to pay or not.

He chose to pay. Heavily.

The price tag is tough to swallow, but one that Spielman was ultimately willing to pay given the other parts of his roster. Spielman confirmed to King that tight end's coach Pat Shurmur (who worked with Bradford in both St. Louis and Philly) played a role in convincing him to make the swap.

"I watched every game Sam played last year, and the last three games, I thought he was playing as well as anyone I saw last year," Spielman said. "I don't think he's ever been on a team with a top 10 rushing offense. With 28 [Adrian Peterson] in our backfield, playing at a high level, with the defense we have, Sam's not gonna have to throw it 35 or 40 times every game. I know our coaches wanted him."

Those coaches wanted him. Now they need to produce with him.

Bradford has long been a scouts darling who falls flat when the bright lights come on. Whether he starts Week 1 remains to be seen, but either way the Vikings playoff hopes now rest on Bradford's shoulders.

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