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NFC North Q&A: Should Vikings extend Sam Bradford, or hope Teddy Bridgewater comes back?

Sam Bradford passed for 20 touchdowns with only five interceptions in 2016. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

There were times last season when Sam Bradford looked like he would be the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback of the future while Teddy Bridgewater's future was clouded by his severe knee injury. But Bridgewater is rehabbing, and now Bradford is heading into a contract year. Our NFC North reporters weigh in on what the Vikings should do.

Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Packers reporter: They should go the Kirk Cousins route with Bradford and play it one year at a time. If it means using the franchise tag and paying him $24 million for a year then so be it. At this point, they need to buy as much time as possible to figure out if Bridgewater can return to form. By next year at this time, maybe they will have a better feel for that. The bottom line is they need to keep both quarterbacks around for at least another year beyond 2017.

Jeff Dickerson, Chicago Bears reporter: I look at it as two separate issues. Bradford’s contract shouldn’t be tied to Bridgewater’s recovery. I’d wait on a long-term extension for Bradford. Let him play next season and then re-evaluate. Don’t forget -- while not ideal -- the Vikings can use the franchise tag in 2018. Bradford had good numbers last year (3,877 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions), but I still don’t view him as a top-15 quarterback. That’s why I don’t feel a rush to lock him up beyond 2017. And if Bradford does play well and leads Minnesota to the playoffs, the Vikings will gladly pay him. But Bradford doesn’t have much leverage -- right now. As for Bridgewater, the Vikings can’t count on him. I hate saying that because I really liked Bridgewater before he got hurt, but Minnesota has to move forward at quarterback. Assume the worst but hope for the best.

Michael Rothstein, Detroit Lions reporter: In short, no. While the former No. 1 overall pick has shown more stability in the past few years and had the best completion percentage in the NFL last season, it’s tough to trust him in the long term. He hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2012 and has yet to have a 4,000-yard season. Bradford is an average NFL quarterback, but with Bridgewater, the Vikings had something potentially special. Durability is still a risk with Bridgewater as he comes off the catastrophic knee injury, but he was an ascending player, and if he’s able to get back, he had the potential to be special. If Bradford would be willing to sign a short-term extension before the season (one or two years), the Vikings would be smart to do it and then see how Bridgewater progresses throughout the season. But it’s an interesting situation for Minnesota because it has two NFL starting quarterbacks on the roster. Depending on how the Vikings handle it, there’s always the chance they could have neither at this time next year.