A condensed offense lacking big gains has Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford wanting more explosive plays.
“We’ve probably got to try and find a way to create some explosive plays,’’ Bradford said, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It’s hard when you’re only picking up five, six, seven (yards) at a time. There’s things that we can do to try and figure out how we can create some more explosive plays.’’
Bradford completed 31 passes but threw for just 224 yards against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Of his 37 attempts, only one traveled more than 15 yards in the air. His longest completion—a 41-yard gain to running back Jerick McKinnon—came on a dump pass to the flats against busted coverage.
Time after time, Bradford checked down to short passes. The tendency killed the Vikings late in the fourth quarter, when Lions cornerback Darius Slay jumped a quick route and intercepted Bradford’s pass—setting up Detroit’s game-winning field goal with no time remaining.
The Vikings find themselves stuck between two evils on offense.
With an offensive line incapable of consistently pass protecting for Bradford, new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has turned to a quick and short passing game. But with the change has come a huge reduction in big plays down the field, and now the Vikings are having to go the length of the field with many short gains. The margin for error is small.
Bradford’s request for more explosive plays will likely require Shurmur to risk his quarterback behind the game’s worst offensive line. That plan didn’t work for Minnesota early in the season. At some point, it will simply fall on Bradford’s shoulders to create the big plays down the field.