Report: Sam Bradford's ligaments are intact, and he 'absolutely' plans to return

Sam Bradford may or may not be in the Minnesota Vikings' plans for 2018, but he has plans on playing a ninth season in the NFL.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that the 30-year-old quarterback "absolutely intends to play in 2018" despite missing all but two of the Vikings' games in 2017 with a knee injury that once appeared potentially "career-threatening."

"He did have that knee surgery back in November," Pelissero reported. "Dr. James Andrews went in there to clean up a bone spur, clean out some cartilage, just try to get the joint to calm down. Now Andrews has told Bradford the joint itself is sound, that the ligaments are intact, that there's not reason for there to be concern moving forward."

Bradford's extended absence in 2017, which paved the way for Case Keenum's storied run to the NFC Championship and concluded with a quiet return to the sidelines in the playoffs, was not the first of his much-maligned career. The former No. 1 overall draft pick was infamous for his injury-riddled stint with the then-St. Louis Rams, suffering a pair of ACL tears, and also missed two games during his lone season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.

Acquired eight days before the 2016 season in a blockbuster trade with the Eagles, Bradford played perhaps some of his best football amid fluctuating circumstances in Minnesota, setting an NFL completion-percentage record in his Vikings debut and posting a 124.4 passer rating in 2017 before succumbing to recurring knee pain. But he's set to hit the open market in March as one of three Minnesota quarterbacks, including Keenum, whose contracts will expire.

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