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Logic says Vikings' Bradford will start against Packers

EDEN PRAIRIE - Look for the Minnesota Vikings to start Sam Bradford at quarterback against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night's prime-time home opener at U.S. Bank Stadium. Just don't look for coach Mike Zimmer to announce his decision ahead o...

EDEN PRAIRIE - Look for the Minnesota Vikings to start Sam Bradford at quarterback against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night's prime-time home opener at U.S. Bank Stadium. Just don't look for coach Mike Zimmer to announce his decision ahead of time.

"I just figured it'd be good for sports talk radio," joked Zimmer, who never did announce Shaun Hill as the starter ahead of Sunday's 25-16 season-opening win at Tennessee.

"I think it's good for my team, if we continue to move forward. I haven't decided yet, so we'll figure all that stuff out. You know, Green Bay is an awful good team. Everybody is picking them to go to the Super Bowl. We're just trying to be in the fight and keep our cards close to the vest."

Hill, a 36-year-old career journeyman, won the 17th game of his 15-year career by not turning the ball over on a day when the Vikings' defense scored two touchdowns five minutes apart in a 25-point second-half run that erased a 10-0 halftime deficit.

But Hill, who completed only 54.5 percent of his 33 throws, also didn't put the Vikings in the end zone and missed some throws that needed more arm strength. And, let's face it, the Packers are a much greater challenge than a Titans team that's 5-28 the past three seasons.

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General Manager Rick Spielman didn't trade a first-round draft pick and a conditional fourth-rounder to have Bradford sit on the bench one moment longer than it takes him to get up to speed. Starting the opener eight days after arriving was an unattainable goal, but Zimmer said Monday that Bradford could be ready in time for the Packers and know the offense well enough to make checks and audibles at the line of scrimmage.

The Vikings also have to consider Hill's injury history. With young No. 3 quarterback Taylor Heinicke out for at least another five weeks after a non-football-related foot surgery, the Vikings have only two quarterbacks on the roster. An injury to Hill, which seems likely if he is to continue playing, would send the Vikings scrambling again to find a reliable veteran backup behind Bradford, who has had his own injury issues in the past, but is younger and physically sturdier than Hill.

It'll help the transition that Hill knows, understands and accepts his role as an emergency starter only.

"I did what I came here to do, which was be 1/53rd part of (the players) getting a 'W,'" Hill said after raising his career record to 17-18 on Sunday. "What happens after that, it's not up to me. I'm just going to continue being the same guy every day, no matter what."

 

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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