Fans haven't forgot about Bridgewater, who made his first Pro Bowl in 2015, leading the Vikings to a 11-5 record and NFC North crown. But Bradford didn't disappoint, either.
The 29-year-old former No. 1 draft pick set the single-season completion percentage record by completing 71.6 percent of his tosses.
His performance led coach Mike Zimmer to conclude that Bradford has "earned the right to be the starting quarterback."
"I think Sam has played great this year," Zimmer said at his season ending press conference. "I think he has earned the right to be the starting quarterback."
"Sam has done remarkable with the things he's done this year with all the things he's had to do," Zimmer said.
While Bradford is booked for $13 million and a $4 million roster bonus next season, Bridgewater is signed through the 2017 season for $2.18 million. But the Vikings must make a decision on his fifth-year option in May.
ESPN's Ben Goessling reports that "it seems likely they will exercise the option, even though it will check in north of $11 million, because it gives them another year to evaluate" his recovery.
Bridgewater completed 292-of-447 passes for 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2015. He also ran for three scores. This season, Bradford completed 395-of-552 passes for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns, and five interceptions.