For most of the offseason, new Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell made it clear that four of the five offensive line spots were set, with only the right guard spot up for grabs. After a few weeks of training camp, however, it seems that is no longer the case.
O’Connell says there’s always competition at the center. Says Bradbury has been good in the running game but admits some struggles in pass protection. He says he believes he is strong enough but constantly needs better technique.
—Mark Craig (@markcraignfl) August 6, 2022
According to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (among others), O’Connell said on Saturday that he isin fact, a competition at center between incumbent Garrett Bradbury and others, including free agent signees Chris Reed and Austin Schlottman.
On the other hand, Kevin Seifert points out that O’Connell is not “worried” about Bradbury but has room to improve.
O’Connell said he was not worried about Bradbury but made it clear there was room for improvement. More will follow later after practice, once power is restored in the media room. Thunderstorms!!
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) August 6, 2022
So far, Bradbury’s story appears to be the same as the first three years of his Minnesota career. He’s very good as a run blocker, especially when he can get out a bit in space, but he gets hit pretty badly in pass protection.
The Vikings declined to take Bradbury’s fifth-year option earlier this offseason, so Bradbury is essentially playing for his next contract, either with Minnesota or another team (the latter looking much more likely at this point). Reed has never played center in a regular season game and Schlottman has only made one career start there, but apparently they’re both used to pushing Bradbury. . .or, potentially, supplant it.
I don’t think that’s a huge surprise or anything. Again, Bradbury had his moments, but they were too few and far between. As the new regime doesn’t have very strong ties to Bradbury, they would likely bench him if they thought there was another player who would be an improvement on what Bradbury can provide.
Sure, we still have a bit of camp and three pre-season games to go here, but that doesn’t look promising for Garrett Bradbury’s prospects going forward.