Samuel Jacob Bradford (born November 8, 1987) is an American football quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). Bradford attended Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, where he starred in football, basketball and golf. As a senior quarterback in 2005, he threw for 2,029 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games. Bradford was not highly recruited coming out of high school, but he did receive a scholarship offer from the University of Oklahoma, which he accepted. After a redshirt season in 2006, Bradford threw for 3,121 yards and 36 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. That set the stage for a phenomenal 2008 year, when Bradford became only the second sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy as he was the trigger man for the highest-scoring offense in NCAA history, throwing for 4,464 yards with 48 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He again led the nation in passing and also added five rushing touchdowns as the Sooners went 12-1 and advanced to the BCS national title game. Bradford declared for the NFL draft following the 2009 season and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams with the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
In 2010, his first season in the NFL, Bradford set the record for most completions by a rookie in NFL history, which helped earn him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Prior to the start of the 2015 season, the Rams traded Bradford along with a 2015 fifth round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for quarterback Nick Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick, and a 2016 second-round pick. Following his 2015 campaign with the Eagles, in which he set career-highs in passing yards (3,725), completion percentage (65%) and yards per attempt (7.0), the Vikings acquired Bradford after their starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was lost to a season-ending knee injury before the start of the season.
Bradford was born to Kent and Martha Bradford in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He attended Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, where he starred in football, basketball, baseball and golf for the Putnam City North Panthers. Bradford played as a pitcher in baseball, but gave up after his freshman year. He earned All-City honors as a junior quarterback in football by The Oklahoman. Following his senior season in which he threw for 2,029 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games, Bradford was named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Team and was a Second-Team All-State pick by The Oklahoman.
Bradford was also a Division I-caliber basketball player. As a senior, he averaged 18.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and played on the same elite AAU team as fellow Oklahoma City native and Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin. In golf, Bradford defeated future PGA touring pros Kevin Tway and Robert Streb during his high school career. In addition to the aforementioned sports, Bradford also played hockey in his youth. In 1999, when Bradford was 12, his travel team, the Junior Blazers, won a regional championship, beating a team from Houston. He quit the sport that same year, and according to his former hockey coach Mike McEwen, who played on three Stanley Cup championship teams with the New York Islanders, Bradford had the talent to make it in the NHL. McEwen also said that Bradford was one of the best players he ever coached.
In the spring of 2005, by the end of Bradford's junior season, he garnered interest from several Division I programs, including Stanford, Michigan, Texas Tech, and nearby Oklahoma. Following his senior season, Bradford was viewed as a two-to-three-star recruit and was not that highly ranked among the high school class of 2006, with his highest ranking being No. 12 among only pro-style quarterbacks by recruiting source Rivals.com. Bradford was ranked behind Pat Devlin, "Juice" Williams and Josh Freeman, and was overshadowed by the likes of five-star recruits like Mitch Mustain, Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||40‡||Commit date|
|Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||Putnam City North High School||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)||200 lb (91 kg)||4.8||Dec 2, 2005|
|Recruiting star ratings: Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 79|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 18 (QB) Rivals: 12 (QB), 1 (Oklahoma) ESPN: 16 (QB)|
Bradford received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma, where he played for coach Bob Stoops's Oklahoma Sooners football team from 2006 to 2009. He redshirted as a freshman in 2006 before becoming the starter in 2007 and turning in one of the best seasons ever by a quarterback, passing for 4,720 yards with 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. As a result, he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the fifth Oklahoma player to win the award. After Oklahoma lost the 2009 BCS National Championship Game 24-14 to Florida, Bradford, instead of declaring for the upcoming draft, elected to return to Oklahoma for another crack at the title. He ended up playing in just three games due to a shoulder injury, and the Sooners, ranked No. 3 to start the season, finished with a 8-5 record.
In 2006, Oklahoma's starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, then a sophomore, was dismissed from the team for violating NCAA rules. Paul Thompson, a senior quarterback-turned-wide receiver, converted back to quarterback and led the 2006 Oklahoma Sooners football team to win the Big 12 Championship Game. His departure left a void at the quarterback position at Oklahoma. Six players on the roster tried out for the starting position during the following off-season, including three walk-on quarterbacks, true freshman Keith Nichol (a Rivals.com 4-star recruit and 6th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2007 recruiting class, who later transferred to Michigan State University), junior Joey Halzle (the only one with game experience), and Bradford, a redshirt freshman. On August 21, 2007, Bradford won the starting quarterback role for the 2007 team.
In his first game for the Sooners, against the University of North Texas, Bradford completed 21 of 23 attempts for 363 yards and three touchdowns in a little over two quarters, breaking the school record for passing yards in a half, held by his quarterback coach Josh Heupel, with 350. The very next game, Bradford broke Heisman Trophy winner Jason White's school record for most consecutive pass completions with 22 (18 came in the first half and four at the start of the second).
In the second week of the 2007 season, Bradford was named the national offensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation after tying the school record for most touchdown passes in a game with five. Having thrown 25 touchdowns through his first nine games, Bradford was on pace to break the NCAA freshman record of 29 touchdowns set by David Neill in 1998 and tied by Colt McCoy in 2006.
In the November 17, 2007 game against Texas Tech, Bradford suffered a concussion of unknown severity. He was removed from the game and replaced by back-up quarterback Joey Halzle. The Sooners lost the game, 27–34. Bradford was able to play in the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State on November 24.
During the November 24, 2007 game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Bradford broke the NCAA freshman record of 29 touchdowns by passing his 30th touchdown to Joe Jon Finley during the second quarter. At the Missouri Tigers game, Bradford threw for 209 yards and 0 interceptions. He was 18–26 and threw for two touchdowns.
The Sooners won the Big 12 Championship after defeating Missouri for the second time in a season. The Sooners played the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2008 and lost 48–28. It was Bradford's first Bowl Championship Series game as a starter.
In week 8 of the following season against Kansas, Bradford surpassed quarterback coach Josh Heupel's school record for passing yards in a single game with 468 yards. Bradford led the Sooners to their third straight Big 12 Championship and defeated Missouri 62–21. In the process, the Sooners broke Hawaii's 2006 record for the most points in a single season with 702 points. Also, the Sooners were the first team in NCAA history to score 60 or more points in five straight games. Oklahoma finished the 2008 regular season with a 12–1 record, ranking #2 in the AP Poll and #1 in the BCS Standings. The Sooners earned a trip to play Florida at the 2009 BCS National Championship Game.
After the regular season, Bradford captured the Davey O'Brien Award and the Heisman Trophy. He is the second sophomore, after 2007 winner Tim Tebow of the University of Florida, to receive the Heisman; he also became the fifth University of Oklahoma player, as well as the second person of Native American descent to capture the trophy after Jim Plunkett. Bradford received 1,726 total points while the other finalists, Colt McCoy, of the University of Texas, and Tim Tebow, received 1,604 and 1,575, respectively. Tebow, however, collected more first-place votes, 309, while Bradford got 300. Bradford got the most points thanks to the help of his 315 second-place votes. A total of 926 voters participated in the balloting.
|Finalist||First place votes
(3 pts. each)
|Second place votes
(2 pts. each)
|Third place votes
(1 pt. each)
When combined with Blake Griffin's Naismith Award, Oklahoma became the first school to have a winner in both top basketball and football individual awards in the same year. Bradford was also voted Associated Press College Football Player of the Year. Bradford received 27 votes, again beating McCoy (17 votes) and Tim Tebow (16 votes). Bradford is the third Oklahoma Sooner to win the award, joining Josh Heupel (2000) and Jason White (2003). Heupel and White were also quarterbacks, with Heupel being the current quarterbacks coach for Oklahoma.
Bradford announced that he would forgo the 2009 NFL Draft to return to Oklahoma for his junior season. In the Sooners' first game of the season (against Brigham Young), Bradford suffered a third-degree AC joint sprain one play after becoming Oklahoma's all-time passing leader. Playing without Bradford for the second half of the game, Oklahoma went on to lose 14–13. Bradford was originally scheduled to return in about three to six weeks, but head coach Bob Stoops initially refused to either confirm or deny that timetable. After missing three weeks, Bradford returned to the field during the Baylor game, and completed 27 of 49 passes for 389 yards and one touchdown, leading the Sooners to a 33–7 victory. Bradford re-injured his right shoulder on October 17, 2009 in the Red River Rivalry against Texas on the second drive of the game. It was later announced that he would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Although he likely would have been one of the first quarterbacks taken in the 2009 NFL Draft, Bradford decided to return to Oklahoma for his junior season in January 2009. Shortly after the 2009 draft, he was projected as the No. 1 prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft. On October 25, 2009, Bradford announced he would forgo his final year at Oklahoma and enter the draft. Commonly considered one of the top prospects available, Bradford was projected as high as the No. 1 overall pick for most of the preseason and the early part of the regular season.
Because of his shoulder injury, Bradford did not throw at the 2010 NFL Combine, however he was measured and participated in interviews and medical examinations. He was measured at 6'4¼" and 236 pounds, about 15 pounds above his college playing weight. Bradford scored 36 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test, well above the average of 28.5 for the 30 NFL quarterbacks slated to start in 2010.
On March 19, Bradford met with St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in Pensacola, Florida, where he had been training and rehabbing since undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 4 1⁄4 in
|34 3⁄8 in
|9 1⁄2 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
In early Spring, Bradford met with Thom Goudy, a professional development coach in St. Louis, Missouri. Goudy helped Bradford with his pocket technique. Bradford spent three weeks in his training camp before starting the summer conditioning camp. On April 22, 2010, Bradford was selected by the St. Louis Rams as the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. It was the first time the Rams selected a quarterback in the first round of a draft since the selection of Bill Munson in the 1964 NFL Draft. Bradford is the first No. 1 pick out of Oklahoma since Billy Sims was selected top overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1980 NFL Draft. Bradford chose the #8 in honor to Troy Aikman who also attended OU before transferring to UCLA.
On July 30, 2010, Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million deal, which has $50 million of guarantees and has a maximum value of $86 million making it the largest contract ever for an NFL rookie.
In the preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings on August 14, Bradford went 6-of-13 for 57 yards and was also sacked 3 times in a Rams loss. After another unimpressive showing against the Browns in his second game, Bradford bounced back in a big way against the Patriots in the third game of the preseason. He got his first start in place of the injured A. J. Feeley, throwing two first half touchdowns and helping lead the Rams to a 36–35 victory.
He competed for the starting quarterback position with Feeley and on September 4, Bradford was named the starting quarterback for the 2010 season opener.
On September 12, 2010, in his first regular season game as the starting quarterback for the Rams, Bradford completed 32/55 passes for 253 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions in a 17–13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. His first NFL touchdown came on a 1-yard pass to Laurent Robinson. Two weeks later, he then achieved his first victory as an NFL starter when the Rams defeated the Washington Redskins in an upset by a score of 30–16, which snapped a 13-game overall home losing streak. The next week, he passed for 289 yards and two TDs in leading the Rams over the Seahawks, 20-3. This was their first win in a division game since November 2007.
In Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers, Bradford connected on 25 of 32 passes, two of them for touchdowns. In his first eight games he scored eleven TDs, which tied an NFL record—held by Dan Marino (1983), Peyton Manning (1998), and Ben Roethlisberger (2004)—for over that span by a rookie since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. Bradford went 3-2 as a starter in October, passing for 1,019 yards and 7 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. He was named the NFL's offensive rookie of the month.
During October and November, he established a record for most consecutive passes without an interception for a rookie (169), which ended with an interception by William Moore in a home game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 21. On November 28, 2010, against the Denver Broncos, Bradford became the first rookie in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions during a road victory. He capped November by becoming the first rookie QB to win two consecutive Offensive Rookie of the Month awards.
On December 26, Bradford surpassed Peyton Manning's record for most completed passes by an NFL rookie quarterback (326). Bradford finished the season with 354 completions out of 590 attempts, surpassing Manning's record of 575 for most attempts by an NFL rookie quarterback. Bradford became just the third rookie quarterback to start all 16 regular season games and pass over 3000 passing yards, joining Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan.
Coming into the 2011 season, expectations were high for the St. Louis Rams and Bradford. After going 4-0 in the preseason, it appeared as if they would be fulfilled, but once the regular season rolled around injuries ravaged the roster. A high ankle sprain bothered Bradford for the majority of the year and the Rams finished 2–14.
During the off-season, there was much speculation that the Rams would select Heisman Trophy winner and former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. But, new head coach, Jeff Fisher instilled hope that Bradford was still the Rams franchise quarterback, solidifying this hope when the Rams later reached a deal with the Washington Redskins for the 2nd overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Rams weren't expected to make much of a leap following their dismal campaign the year before, but behind strong play by Bradford and rookies stepping up to the challenge, the Rams finished 7-8-1. Bradford finished the season with career best numbers: 3,702 passing yards, 21 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions and an 82.6 passer rating to go along with 59.5 completion percentage.
With all the additions in the off-season, the Rams and Bradford were expected to excel in 2013. Through the first seven games, Bradford passed for 1,687 yards and 14 touchdowns to 4 interceptions and 90.9 passer rating. But, during the Rams Week 7 game against the Carolina Panthers, Bradford tore his left ACL on a run out of bounds, ending his season.
Bradford suffered an injury to the same ACL after being sacked during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns and missed the entire 2014 season.
On March 10, 2015, Bradford was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles along with a 2015 fifth round pick, in exchange for Nick Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick, and a 2016 second-round pick. In his first game as a Philadelphia Eagle, Bradford completed 36 out of 52 passes for a touchdown and two interceptions in a season opening 26–24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 4, he threw zero interceptions to three touchdowns, and although his completion percentage was lower than 55% in both games, he still mustered a 122.6 passer rating in a loss to the Redskins, his only passer rating above 90 for the season. In Week 6, he threw three interceptions, but the Eagles still gained a 27–7 win over the New York Giants to move Philadelphia to 3–3 and in first place in the NFC East, mainly thanks to the defense and run game. Bradford had his worst game by far in a loss against the Panthers, where he completed only 56.5% of his passes with zero touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 58.7. Against the Miami Dolphins on November 15, Bradford suffered a left shoulder injury as well as a concussion, which would keep him out of the next two games against Tampa Bay and a Thanksgiving Day game against Detroit In his first season, Bradford would go 7-7 as a starter and his play began to improve after Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys. During Week 9, Bradford threw a game-winning TD in overtime to Jordan Matthews. In Week 13, Bradford led the Eagles to a 35-28 upset over the New England Patriots.
On March 1, 2016, Bradford signed a 2-year, $36 million ($26 million guaranteed) contract extension with the Eagles. However, the Eagles traded with the Cleveland Browns for the number two pick in the 2016 NFL draft, in order to draft a new quarterback. This led to speculation that Bradford would be traded or used as a stopgap while Chase Daniel educates the newly drafted quarterback in Pederson's offensive scheme. On April 25, 2016, it was reported that Bradford wanted to be traded and that he would no longer attend the team's off-season activities. The Eagles selected quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft on April 28. Bradford returned to the team in May 2016.
On September 3, 2016, Bradford was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The trade was made after Viking's quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season-ending ACL tear during team practice on August 30, 2016.
15 days after being traded, Bradford made his first start for the Vikings in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers. Despite not having much time to learn the offense, Bradford outplayed Aaron Rodgers but ended up hurting his left hand in the first half due to a hit by Clay Matthews. Bradford finished the game completing 22-of-31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, helping lead the Vikings to their first win in their new stadium. His first touchdown as a Viking came in the second quarter on an eight-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph in the back of the end zone, while the second touchdown of the night was a 25-yarder to Stefon Diggs late in the third quarter that gave the Vikings a 17-7 lead. The connection between both players resulted in 182 yards on 9 catches for Diggs, a career-high for him. Bradford received high praise from the media, with many calling it one of the best games of his career. The following week, Bradford threw for 171 yards and one touchdown in a 22-10 win against the Carolina Panthers, thanks to a strong Vikings' defense that sacked Cam Newton eight times and intercepted him three times. In the Vikings' win over the New York Giants in Week 4, Bradford threw a touchdown pass and did not throw an interception for the third straight game. The only other Vikings player to do that in each of his first three games of a season was Randall Cunningham in 1998. With both starting tackles and Stefon Diggs (Vikings' leading receiver) out for a Week 5 game against the Houston Texans, Bradford delivered another strong performance, completing 22 of 30 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and, for the fourth straight start, not a single interception. In the opening drive, he connected with Adam Thielen on a 36-yard touchdown strike.
During a three-game losing streak, Bradford threw only three touchdowns and an interception with 725 yards and a 66% completion percentage, poor in comparison with the previous four games, in which he threw for 990 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions, and had a 70% completion percentage. The Vikings would finish the season with an 8-8 record.
Bradford started 15 games in 2016, completing 395 of 552 passes for 3,877 yards and 20 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. His 71.6 completion percentage set a single season NFL record, passing Drew Brees's 2011 mark of 71.2. Bradford's 395 completions set a franchise record for completions in a season.
In Week 1, Bradford completed 27 of 32 pass attempts for 346 yards and three touchdowns in a 29–19 win over the New Orleans Saints, earning him his first NFC Offensive Player of the Week award. He was inactive for the Week 2 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a knee injury.
|2014||STL||0||0||did not play due to injury|
Bradford is 1/16th Cherokee and is listed as an official citizen on the Cherokee Nation tribe's rolls. Bradford was the first person of identified Cherokee descent to start at quarterback for a Division I university since Sonny Sixkiller, a full-blooded Cherokee, who played for the University of Washington during the 1970–1972 seasons.
Bradford is nicknamed "Sammy Sleeves" by fans and some media members for always wearing extra long jersey sleeves. The reason being is that according to Bradford "I just don't like to feel restricted [...] I don't really know why they're that big but I just don't really like them touching my arms. I don't know, I'm just kind of weird about it."