PHILADELPHIA — Sam Bradford learned a long time ago not to be surprised by anything that happens in the NFL.
Still, he was admittedly stunned when he found out the Eagles had traded him to Minnesota just eight days before the start of the regular season.
“I’ve seen a lot in my seven years (in the NFL),” Bradford said Wednesday in a conference call. “I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. But this was not something I expected. I was ready and excited to be in Philly this year. Getting traded wasn’t even on my radar.”
He will be in Philly on Sunday but will be wearing purple instead of green.
Bradford leads the undefeated Vikings (5-0) into Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Eagles (3-2).
It will be his first time in Philadelphia since the trade.
He received the news at 8 a.m. on Sept. 3, while he was relaxing at his offseason home in Oklahoma with his wife, Emma, for a few days before heading back to Philadelphia to start preparing for the opener against Cleveland on Sept. 11.
He was hoping to watch his alma mater, The University of Oklahoma, in action against the University of Houston that day. Instead, he was rushing to the airport to catch a flight to Minneapolis.
As a result, he never had the opportunity to say goodbye to his Eagles’ teammates, to thank them in person for their support during the 2015 season and this summer’s training camp.
“That part was tough,” Bradford said. “When you spend so much time with coaches and players, you build relationships and friendships on and off the field. When something happens so sudden like that, there’s always a part of you that’s a little down after that. They are a special group of guys. I really do mean that.”
Bradford has maintained contact with a few former teammates, especially Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
Ertz said they talk once a week, usually on Mondays. Sometimes they talk about football, but often the conversation drifts away from the field.
“We talk about the game from the previous day, but we also talk about life in general, how are families are doing, things like that,” Ertz said Wednesday. “Our friendship is going to last long after we’re done playing in the NFL.”
Their conversation next Monday should be interesting.
Bradford is off to a terrific start with the Vikings and is a major reason why they are the league’s only undefeated team.
The 28-year-old has completed 70.4 percent of his passes (88 of 125) for 990 yards with six touchdown passes and has yet to throw an interception.
And that’s despite having about 10 minutes to learn a new offense while also dealing with a rash of injuries.
Meanwhile, Eagles rookie Carson Wentz is also off to an impressive start. Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, has completed 102 of 157 passes (65 percent) for 1,186 yards and seven TD passes against one interception.
“I think (the trade) has been a win-win, honestly,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. “In our case, our first-round pick (Wentz) is getting a chance to play. He’s getting his feet wet, learning, getting better every week.
It’s weird how things work out sometimes.
“And from (the Vikings’) standpoint, they got a good quarterback. I’m not surprised Sam is doing well. I was fully confident that (Bradford) was going to have the type of success (with the Eagles) that he’s having now with Minnesota. It’s not a shock.”
Wentz credited Bradford for playing a role in his success.
During the offseason minicamps and training camp, Bradford served as a mentor to him. Along with backup quarterback Chase Daniel, they helped Wentz adjust to life in the NFL both on and off the field.
“When I first got here, it was good to have Sam and Chase to talk to,” Wentz said Wednesday. “I built a good relationship with him, and I’m looking forward to playing him. We haven’t spoken this week, but I’m sure we’ll talk before the game.”
Both quarterbacks are trying their best to downplay the hype surrounding the game.
It’s especially big for Wentz. The Eagles are now the favorite NFL team for his family and friends in Bismarck, North Dakota, but others are diehard Minnesota Vikings fans.
Although Minneapolis is more than 425 miles from Bismarck, it’s the closest NFL city.
“A lot of people back home are torn about who to root for Sunday,” Wentz said with a smile. “Most of them are Vikings fans.”
Of course, there’s no doubt who Eagles fans will be rooting for Sunday.
Even Bradford knows that he’s going to get a rude welcome.
“I know what it’s going to be like,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a tough place for road teams to play, and I’m sure there will be a little extra on Sunday.”
Notes: Eagles cornerback Ron Brooks (calf contusion), center Jason Kelce (plantar fascitis), defensive tackle Bennie Logan (strained groin) and defensive end Marcus Smith (strained groin) did not practice Wednesday.
Guard Allen Barbre (sore ankle), linebacker Mychal Kendricks (rib contusion) and wide receiver Jordan Matthews (sore knee) were limited.