Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill? Mike Zimmer won't name QB before game

ByBen Goessling ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he hasn't decided between Shaun Hill and Sam Bradfordfor Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans, and added he won't announce who his starting quarterback will be before the game.

Zimmer said he will tell the team once he's made a decision. "So get your moles out," he said.

The Vikings are splitting snaps between Hill and Bradford this week after acquiring Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade on Saturday. The deal, made after quarterbackTeddy Bridgewatertore his ACL and dislocated his left knee on Aug. 30, plucked Bradford from the Eagles' starting lineup and has forced him to learn a new offense eight days before the start of the regular season.

Bradford said Wednesday he's much more comfortable in the Vikings' offense than he was during his first practice with the team on Sunday, adding he doesn't expect to wear a wristband with the plays on it if he does play Sunday.

"Obviously, just being around here for a couple days, it just helps, seeing cutups, watching film, having meetings, talking to coaches, running plays, getting some reps in practice," he said.

Asked if starting the game following a short stretch of preparation could have any adverse effects on his confidence going forward, Bradford said, "I've been through quite a few ups and downs in this league. As far as my confidence, and my mental approach to things, I don't think that would have any effect."

Titans coach Mike Mularkey, though, didn't sound fazed by the Vikings' subterfuge on Wednesday, saying the two quarterbacks are "not two completely different styles" and adding that common sense suggests Bradford will be the starter sooner rather than later.

"The number of starts [Bradford has had], he's a very intelligent quarterback, he's faced this defense before," Mularkey said. "They wouldn't give up a [No.] 1 and a [No.] 4 to have him sit very long. He's had a very good preseason -- really, both the quarterbacks had good preseasons. I would anticipate [Bradford starts], and if he doesn't, it's not going to change how we prepare."

Hill, whom the Vikings signed in 2015 to back up Bridgewater, figured to be the starter following the quarterback's injury until the Vikings made the trade for Bradford, and Zimmer said Monday that Hill was initially disappointed by the news. Hill, though, said his reaction was one of surprise more than disappointment.

"I don't read anything you guys write. When I watch TV, I watch Disney Junior. So unless it scrolls across the bottom on Disney Junior, I don't see it," Hill said. "I stay right in my lane. I keep that same narrow focus throughout the whole season, whether I'm playing or not."