Thirty-six quarterbacks have started a game in Minnesota Vikings history, but few have played as well in their debut as Sam Bradford.
The 28-year-old Bradford was 22-for-31 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, as the Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers 17-14. The performance included a 16-for-23 first half in which he threw for 175 yards and one touchdown.
Bradford finished with an overall passer rating of 121.2 after throwing for 111 yards and another touchdown in the second half. The 2010 first-overall draft pick set a Vikings quarterback record for most passing yards in a team debut. He also had the second-most completions, third-highest completion percentage and third-most passing yards of any Vikings quarterback in his first start.
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Minnesota has played with some big-name quarterbacks over the years, from Fran Tarkenton to Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb, albeit some were not in the prime of their careers. Here are some of the more notable starting debuts by Minnesota quarterbacks:
-- Fran Tarkenton, Sept. 24, 1961, at Dallas: Tarkenton came off the bench a week earlier in his Vikings debut, throwing four touchdown passes as Minnesota defeated the Chicago Bears 37-13. He struggled in his first start for the franchise, however, completing just eight of 24 passes for 117 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 21-7 loss. His 15.5 passer rating that day ranks as the worst by a Vikings quarterback in a starting debut. Tarkenton went on to an 18-year Hall of Fame career, playing 177 games with the Vikings, the most by any quarterback in franchise history.
-- Tommy Kramer, Dec. 11, 1977, at Oakland: Kramer started one game as a rookie, and it did not go well. He completed 16 of 34 passes for 177 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in a 35-13 loss. Kramer did not start another game until the 1979 season, when he became the Vikings' full-time starter. He went on to play 128 games with the Vikings, the second most by a quarterback in franchise history.
-- Brett Favre, Sept. 13, 2009, at Cleveland: Favre completed 14 of 21 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown to Percy Harvin, as Minnesota won 34-20. Adrian Peterson rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns that day, including a 64-yard touchdown run during which he shoved off a Cleveland defender. Favre led the Vikings to a 6-0 start that year and finished the season with 33 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a 107.2 quarterback rating.
--Josh Freeman, Oct. 21, 2013, at New York Giants: Minnesota began the 2013 season 0-3, with quarterback Christian Ponder throwing three touchdowns and five interceptions. The team signed Freeman, who had been released by Tampa Bay, during its bye week. Freeman started his first game with the Vikings just two weeks later, completing 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in a 23-7 loss. The game was Freeman's only one with the Vikings, who finished 5-10-1 in what was coach Leslie Frazier's final season.
--Teddy Bridgewater, Sept. 28, 2014 vs. Atlanta: Matt Cassel began the 2014 season as the Vikings' starting quarterback but broke several bones in his foot midway through a Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater finished the game in relief, going 12-for-20 passing for 150 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. His first start came the following week, and Bridgewater completed 19 of 30 passes for 317 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions, as the Vikings won 41-28.
Here is the complete list of starting debuts by Vikings quarterbacks:
|Sam Bradford||9/19/2016||Green Bay||22||31||71.0||286||2||0||121.2||W, 17-14|
|Shaun Hill||9/11/2016||Tennessee||18||33||54.5||236||0||0||77.3||W, 25-16|
|Teddy Bridgewater||9/28/2014||Atlanta||19||30||63.3||317||0||0||98.9||W, 41-28|
|Josh Freeman||10/21/2013||New York Giants||20||53||37.7||190||0||1||40.6||L, 23-7|
|Matt Cassel||9/29/2013||Pittsburgh||16||25||64.0||248||2||0||123.4||W, 34-27|
|Donovan McNabb||9/11/2011||San Diego||7||15||46.7||39||1||1||47.9||L, 24-17|
|Christian Ponder||9/11/2011||Green Bay||13||32||40.6||219||2||2||59.2||L, 33-27|
|Joe Webb||12/28/2010||Philadelphia||17||26||65.4||195||0||0||87.8||W, 24-14|
|Brett Favre||9/13/2009||Cleveland||14||21||66.7||110||1||0||95.3||W, 34-20|
|Brooks Bollinger||11/11/2007||Green Bay||16||26||61.5||176||0||1||65.5||L, 26-16|
|Kelly Holcomb||9/23/2007||Kansas City||14||28||50.0||169||0||0||68.9||L, 13-10|
|Tarvaris Jackson||12/21/2006||Green Bay||10||20||50.0||50||0||1||35.4||L, 9-7|
|Gus Frerotte||9/28/2003||San Francisco||16||21||76.2||267||4||0||157.2||W, 35-7|
|Spergon Wynn||12/30/2001||Green Bay||11||30||36.7||114||1||3||20.0||L, 24-13|
|Todd Bouman||12/9/2001||Tennessee||21||31||67.7||348||4||1||131.5||W, 42-24|
|Daunte Culpepper||9/3/2000||Chicago||13||23||56.5||190||0||1||65.5||W, 30-27|
|Jeff George||10/24/1999||San Francisco||15||28||53.6||250||3||1||104.8||W, 40-16|
|Randall Cunningham||12/7/1997||San Francisco||16||31||51.6||178||2||1||77.1||L, 28-17|
|Brad Johnson||9/8/1996||Atlanta||15||26||57.7||275||2||1||103.8||W, 23-17|
|Warren Moon||9/4/1994||Green Bay||20||37||54.1||166||0||3||32.0||L, 16-10|
|Jim McMahon||9/5/1993||Los Angeles Raiders||15||27||55.6||161||0||2||42.4||L, 24-7|
|Sean Salisbury||11/29/1992||Los Angeles Rams||23||34||67.6||238||0||1||75.4||W, 31-17|
|Rich Gannon||9/30/1990||Tampa Bay||19||36||52.8||253||2||2||70.7||L, 23-20|
|Tony Adams||10/4/1987||Green Bay||14||23||60.9||234||1||1||91.6||L, 23-16|
|Archie Manning||10/28/1984||Chicago||14||24||58.3||138||0||1||57.3||L, 16-7|
|Wade Wilson||12/17/1983||Cincinnati||16||28||57.1||124||1||2||50.3||W, 20-14|
|Steve Dils||11/2/1980||Washington||18||29||62.1||200||2||0||105.5||W, 39-14|
|Tommy Kramer||12/11/1977||Oakland||16||34||47.1||177||1||3||36.0||L, 35-13|
|Norm Snead||10/3/1971||Buffalo||12||21||57.1||150||0||2||39.9||W, 19-0|
|Bob Lee||12/5/1970||Chicago||5||12||41.7||92||1||0||96.5||W, 16-13|
|Gary Cuozzo||9/21/1969||New York Giants||13||28||46.4||255||2||1||87.6||L, 24-23|
|Joe Kapp||10/8/1967||St. Louis||12||22||54.5||281||1||2||76.9||L, 34-24|
|Bob Berry||12/4/1966||Atlanta||12||33||36.4||203||1||5||28.5||L, 20-13|
|Ron Vander Kelen||12/15/1963||Philadelphia||8||16||50.0||75||0||0||63.3||W, 34-13|
|Fran Tarkenton||9/24/1961||Dallas||8||24||33.3||117||0||2||15.5||L, 21-7|
|George Shaw||9/17/1961||Chicago||2||3||66.7||22||0||0||88.2||W, 37-13|
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