Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater might not start this upcoming season, but it’s clear that the Vikings organization is high on what he can do for them in the future. Matt Cassel was reportedly the “heavy favorite” going into training camp, but it’s important to remember that it’s a wide-open competition among Bridgewater, Cassel, and Christian Ponder. Of those three, Ponder has to be on the outside looking in, as he’s been given several opportunities to show that he’s the franchise QB and has failed on each occasion. Cassel outplayed him last year, and he’ll be the starter if they don’t think Bridgewater is ready yet. It looks like a “may the best man win” competition from Mike Zimmer and the staff, who will want to keep things as fair as possible.
Throughout the offseason, we’ve heard plenty of praise for Bridgewater from the Vikings organization, but this is the most personal praise we’ve heard from a coach. Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Matt Vensel, “Teddy has been a really good get for us. I do not know when [he will start], but I am ecstatic to have him. I love his personality. I was teasing him this morning about some stuff. He has a good head on his shoulders and is a good kid. The Vikings fans will be proud to have Teddy Bridgewater with us for a long, long time.”
This is as strong as it gets when it comes to praise for a rookie quarterback, because Zimmer is gushing about how good of a person Bridgewater is. The “long, long time” indicates that the team believes immensely in what he can do for the organization long-term, and I’m sure most Vikings fans feel the same.
Bridgewater comes into the NFL as the most pro-ready of the quarterback selected in thsi year’s draft, so I think he can be an immediate upgrade over Cassel. He’s accurate, understands the game almost at the level of a veteran, and he has better physical tools (speed and arm strength, mostly) than some detractors stated in the pre-draft process. Bridgewater was the victim of some untrue statements in the spring, and I’m hoping he can seize the starting gig this year.