The Minnesota Vikings were huge winners in this year’s draft, as they snagged a much-needed franchise quarterback in a steal of a trade up, they managed to trade down one pick with the Cleveland Browns before grabbing a player they probably would have taken anyway, and they picked up some mid-round steals in Antone Exum and David Yankey. Matt Cassel might be the “heavy favorite” to start this upcoming season due to his experience, but there are plenty of people, such as yours truly, who believe Teddy Bridgewater should start as a rookie.
I’ve always been a big believer in Bridgewater, who is easily the most pro-ready rookie quarterback and was the victim of some pretty stupid concerns. The whole “he stunk at workouts” thing? That definitely sounds like propaganda to me. His lack of size and arm strength? Please. As Russell Wilson taught us, that’s a major ticky-tack concern, and Bridgewater has shown that he has adequate arm strength. While he doesn’t have a cannon like Derek Carr or Blake Bortles, he has more than sufficient zip on his throws and carries an innate understanding of the game with sublime decision-making and crisp accuracy.
Bridgewater was a big-time steal for the Vikings, and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is certainly aware of that. In fact, he recently stated that he believes Bridgewater should have been a top ten pick. He said, via the NFL Network’s Chris Wesseling, “I think he probably should’ve gone in the first 10 picks. He probably should’ve gone at least in the first half of the first round, and then we’re sitting there with an opportunity to get him when we did, it was a bonus to me.”
We’ll see if Bridgewater can put together a strong training camp and start as a rookie, because it’s an open competition among the Louisville product, Cassel, and former first-round pick Christian Ponder. Of those three quarterbacks, I think Ponder has to be viewed as the odd-man out in the competition right now.