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Bradford's back: Vikings reactivate QB from injured reserve

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) passes against the Chicago Bears in the first half at Soldier Field. on Oct. 9, 2017. The Vikings on Saturday activated Bradford off the injured reserve. (Matt Marton / USA TODAY Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford is back on the 53-man roster.

The Vikings on Saturday, Jan. 13, activated off injured reserve Bradford, who hasn't played since Oct. 9 because of a knee injury, and placed tight end Kyle Carter on waivers.

The Boston Globe had reported Friday that Bradford would be activated and dress out for Sunday's playoff game against New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium. It remains uncertain whether the Vikings will dress three quarterbacks against the Saints and whether Teddy Bridgewater, who has been the backup for starter Case Keenum, will continue in that role.

The Vikings haven't dressed three quarterbacks for a game since Nov. 7, 2013, when Leslie Frazier was the coach and Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman all were active against Washington. Mike Zimmer took over as coach the following season.

"I would very surprised if (Zimmer) dresses three quarterbacks for this game,'' said Joe Theismann, a longtime NFL analyst who won a Super Bowl as Washington's starting quarterback in the 1982 season. "I think you probably use (the last spot) for somebody on special teams or one of the lineman.''

Theismann has no inside knowledge on who might serve as Keenum's backup. But he did point to Bradford having thrown for 346 yards in a 29-19 win over New Orleans in the Sept. 11 opener and te quarterback at least having played more this season than Bridgewater.

Bradford appeared in three preseason games and 1 1/2 regular-season games. Bridgewater's only action since suffering a torn left ACL in August 2016 has been two series in the fourth quarter of a 34-7 win over Cincinnati on Dec. 17.

"Neither one of them has played much football,'' Theismann said. "If (a backup is) pressed into service, Sam has a little bit of an advantage because he played early on and that could be their thinking that Teddy hasn't played all year (except for the two series) and Sam has played a little bit.''

Bridgewater on Friday wouldn't reveal who Sunday's backup will be.

"Some things you don't talk about," he said. "We don't want to give away any tendencies to our opponents."

The Vikings now have four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, but Kyle Sloter, who was inactive for the last eight regular-season games, definitely will be inactive again Sunday.

Bradford hasn't played in a full game since throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the opener against the Saints. He injured his left knee in that game, and was out until returning Oct. 9 at Chicago.

Bradford aggravated his knee against the Bears and was ineffective before being replaced late in the first half by Keenum, who has started every game since. Bradford, who had surgeries in 2013 and 2014 to repair a torn left ACL, had arthroscopic surgery Nov. 7 on that knee and was placed on injured reserve the next day.

Bradford has participated in five practices since returning Jan. 2.

"He's been doing great," Sloter said Friday. "He's working back in, getting his feet wet. They've been mixing him in and getting him some reps here and there. ... His knee looks good. There's not anything noticeable there. He looks like the old Sam Bradford."