The competition is on.
Garrett Bradbury of the Minnesota Vikings Center, entering a contract a year after the new system refused to pick his fifth-year option, will have to earn his place against Kirk Cousins this summer.
After a week of training filled with numerous reports of the smaller center being run over by defensive tackles, coach Kevin O’Connell spoke about the future of the former first-round pick that was the team’s biggest mistake since 2015.
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O’Connell isn’t ready to say Bradbury starts
At an August 6 news conference, O’Connell said that while Bradbury was a concern early on in training camp, he still gave the North Carolina producer a vote of confidence.
#Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said he’s ‘definitely not worried’ about playing quarterback Garrett Bradbury and that it’s too early, Pioneer Press reporter Chris Thomason reports. “However, #Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said there is still competition at the starting position and is not ready to say that Garrett Bradbury is definitely his first week man.”
It’s early camp, but O’Connell is still green in Minnesota and not yet affected by the prevailing issue with Bradbury – his size.
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Bradbury is still unrefined in his style
At the start of the 2020 season, PFF Project Analyst Mike Renner considered Bradbury to be Minnesota’s biggest mistake since 2015 due to his poor pass blocking abilities.
“Bradbury’s selection for the Vikings is riddled with layers of errors. He torpedoed the career of Pat Elflin, who drafted him the year before because he was more suited to the quarterback position. He will also likely continue to put them in that no-man’s-land for years to come. That’s because he’s good enough at the running game. Not to be substituted, but is a pass protection responsibility,” Renner wrote in 2020. He had pass protection scores of 41.4 and 38.8 in his first two seasons.
Bradbury has shown some signs of improvement since Renner’s scathing review. Bradbury ranked 38th in pass protection out of the 40 hierarchical positions that played at least 20% of attacking shots with a 43.7 pass blocking score last season.
And while Bradbury is currently 10 pounds off his 2021 playing weight of 295 pounds this off season, he hasn’t been shown to have developed an anchor or foot to help keep him straight. At 6 feet 3, 306 pounds from the 2019 draft, Bradbury ranked 8th in height and 30th in weight, per Mockdraftable.
The problem is that Bradbury is actually the perfect hub for a large-scale operating plan that O’Connell is installing – but he still has to stick to his pass-protect stance.
O’Connell said in the collection, “Garrett Bradbury in the middle is what you’re looking for from a core position from a communication point of view” Vikings. com. “I see a man [with] Really good motor skills. Clearly the guy who was drafted high for a reason. I can remember evaluating it through the process. [He] He did a lot of really good things in college, and it was just about finding the right person for him and the right system.”
If Bradbury proves to be too much of a responsibility as a rookie, the Vikings’ next choice will be Chris Reed, a free agent from the Indianapolis Colts whose primary position is goalkeeper.
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