The Vikings will have a decision to make at quarterback.
Minnesota activated Teddy Bridgewater to its 53-man active roster today, the team announced on Wednesday, and also placed Sam Bradford on injured reserve, which will end his season. Now, Minnesota will have to choose whether to stick with Case Keenum, who has led the Vikings to an NFC North-leading 6-2 record, or make a midseason switch to Bridgewater.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Keenum will start Sunday against the NFC West-leading Rams, but also said the starting quarterback decision will be made on a week-by-week basis going forward. Keenum's performance against a quality opponent like the Rams will go a long way in determining whether he keeps the starting job for the stretch run.
Bridgewater, whom the Vikings selected in the first round of the 2015 draft, has not played since the 2015 playoffs. He tore his ACL and suffered a dislocated knee in a gruesome practice injury before the 2016 season.
Bradford, who was acquired via trade from the Eagles after Bridgewater's injury, started the season opener but suffered a non-contact injury shortly thereafter. He returned for a Monday night matchup against the Bears on Oct. 9 but was pulled mid-game after he looked less than 100 percent. After opting for nonsurgical rehabilitation methods, Bradford underwent a knee scope by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, a procedure that was viewed as a last resort.
Keenum replaced Bradford in the Bears game and led Minnesota to a 20-17 victory, and he's won each of his four starts since then. Keenum has thrown seven touchdowns and three interceptions on the season as Minnesota has relied on a top-ten rushing attack and the league's fourth-best defense.
Bridgewater, still just 24 years old, was considered the franchise quarterback before his injury, but replacing Keenum with someone who has not played in almost two years is a difficult proposition, particularly for a team that is playing so well.