We already know that the Jacksonville Jaguars will start first-round rookie Blake Bortles in today’s preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons with Chad Henne inactive, but we don’t know if the Minnesota Vikings will follow suit with Teddy Bridgewater. While Bortles has been excellent since the first week of the preseason, Bridgewater struggled at the beginning of August before hitting his stride and challenging Matt Cassel. The Vikings have, much to my chagrin, decided that they would like to start Cassel, and it always seemed like they wanted to pick the veteran for safety and development reasons. Cassel has played well this month, so he’s earned it.
Starting quarterbacks should also earn some rest in the preseason finale (the third preseason game is their dress rehearsal), while rookies like Bridgewater should get some extra reps to help aid their development. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Master Tesfatsion, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stated that Bridgewater has a “good chance” of starting tonight’s 8 p.m. ET preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans.
Even if Bridgewater doesn’t start, he’s still going to play more than any other quarterback on the roster, but the symbolic importance of naming him the starter and giving Cassel some rest is also important. It would be great to see the Louisville rookie out there, especially since every single rep he gets against the opponent’s “first-team” (air quotes in this case since it’s the final preseason game) is important. Heck, every rep he gets is important enough.