I’m minding my own business sitting in my Stats 367 class last Tuesday around 2 p.m., and the guy next to me, whom I met no more than five minutes earlier working on a problem together, asks me if I’m a football guy.
“Of course!” I respond with odd look at the random question.
“NFL fan?” he asks.
I like football of all forms, even the occasional Canadian Football League game in the NFL offseason to wet my proverbial football-loving whistle (kind of ironic because I’m a football referee too).
But I say, “Yup, I’m a Vikings fan unfortunately.”
“So that means you must have seen what happened with Teddy?” he asked.
Nope, that’s just my response to any question to my NFL fandom with all of the purple pain I’ve felt in my 21 years.
As I shake my head, he tells me I better look it up, and sure enough, I’ve been stabbed again by a cheese-bladed sword.
All over Twitter, I read Teddy Bridgewater goes down in a non-contact drill in practice. The quarterback is en route to the hospital right now in an ambulance. Half an hour later, the news of a torn ACL and dislocated knee confirms the enviable.
A Vikings season ripe with promise of another playoff appearance in a dazzling new $1 billion stadium looks to be heartbreakingly lost again, this time before the first snap of the regular season.
Less than a week later though, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman blows the Gjallarhorn and the Vikings ship seems to get turned around with the announcement of a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford.
My faith in the Vikings season is restored (pending another new way from the team to disappoint), but the trade sure wasn’t free. A first and a fourth round pick for the Eagles in turn for arguably the best quarterback on the lackluster late trade market. That’s giving up a lot for a quarterback whose career record against the NFC North is 0-6 with a QBR of 26.2 in those games.
Last year with the Eagles, Bradford posted the third-worst QBR in the league at 41.8, only ahead of FCS stud Joe Flacco and Nick Foles, the former Eagles quarterback Bradford was traded for.
However, the Vikings showed with the trade that this season without Teddy is not going to be a throwaway year. Bradford still has the capabilities to get the job done in Minnesota being an adequate replacement for 1-2 years Bridgewater will need to recover and rehab.
Hours after the trade, reports started coming out that former Bison quarterback Carson Wentz will be the starter week one against the Browns if he’s recovered from his fractured rib sustained in the first game of the preseason.
Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson confirmed the reports Monday in a press conference. The first rookie quarterback in the 83-year history of the Eagles to start week one will be North Dakota’s own Wentz.
Speaking of North Dakota, Wentz was lying down in the middle of a corn field busy hunting geese when he got the call from Pederson.
From third string to week one starter, Wentz has a lot of pressure now to perform, which seems unfair given his level of experience not only as a rookie, but also as an NFL player who only took 34 snaps in the first preseason game before the injury ended his preseason early.
Will Wentz be able to handle the pressure? Will Bradford fill in adequately as the stand-in-the-pocket version of Bridgewater? Will I get my all-important first win of the fantasy?
We’ll all find out soon this weekend, but one thing’s for sure, the Fargo-Moorhead area and Bison fans all over will be glued to a television at noon Sunday watching either the Vikings open up with Tennessee or Wentz taking his first snaps under center as a NFL starter.