Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater and what could have been

The Minnesota Vikings will face former quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Week 12.

Wrapping up an impressive collegiate career at the University of Louisville, Teddy Bridgewater entered the 2014 NFL Draft awaiting to see which team would take a chance on him to take the next step in his football career.

At the end of the first round of the draft that year, the Minnesota Vikings were that team that viewed Bridgewater as the next quarterback to lead the franchise moving forward.

The Vikings selected Bridgewater with the final pick of the first round of the 2014 Draft, and the mobile quarterback soon took over things in Minnesota both on the field and off the field as a fan favorite.

For two seasons spanning from 2014-15, Bridgewater became the new starting quarterback with the Vikings, most notably leading the team to an 11-5 record as the full-time starter during the 2015 campaign. Over his career in Minnesota, Bridgewater appeared in a total of 30 regular-season games, throwing for a total of 10,204 yards (66.9 completion percentage), 51 touchdowns and 32 interceptions, while running for 398 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Fast forward to 2020, Bridgewater is now in a new uniform as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the third team of his NFL career since breaking into the league in 2014. In Week 12 in Minneapolis, Bridgewater will likely return to Minnesota to face his former Vikings team as a starting quarterback with the Panthers, which sparks the question of what could have been with Bridgewater in purple and gold.

What could Teddy Bridgewater have become with the Minnesota Vikings?

Following that 2015 season with Minnesota, Bridgewater and the Vikings had hopes of once again putting together a strong campaign while appearing to enter into a championship-caliber window for the franchise.

All of that changed during training camp leading up to the 2016 season when the then 24-year-old quarterback nicknamed “Teddy Two Gloves” by many Vikings fans suffered a gruesome injury that nearly ended his NFL career and nearly cost him his leg.

In Aug. of 2016, Bridgewater was dropping back in practice when his leg buckled and resulted in a dislocated knee along with several torn ligaments in what has been described as a gruesome injury that nearly resulted in a leg amputation.

After questions being brought up about Bridgewater’s career moving forward, the quarterback later signed with the New Orleans Saints as a backup to Drew Brees with the hopes of literally getting his legs back underneath him to rejuvenate his playing career.

After making an appearance in the middle of the 2019 season as a starter in a Saints uniform with Brees out due to injury, Bridgewater surprisingly showcased he looks to be fully recovered, even leading New Orleans to a 5-0 record over a five-week span until Brees returned.

This offseason, Bridgewater signed a free agent contract with Carolina to take over things as the full-time starter with the Panthers moving on from Cam Newton. In 10 games going into Week 12, Bridgewater has tallied 2,552 passing yards and 13 touchdowns, the highest marks since his final season as a starter in Minnesota in 2015. He has also run for 196 yards on 35 attempts, finding the end zone three times so far this year.

On Sunday afternoon at US Bank Stadium, Bridgewater and the Panthers will aim to take down his former Vikings team in Minnesota in a matchup between two below-.500 teams. And although Minnesota and its players, coaches and fans hope for a win against Carolina, the Vikings and the state, in general, are happy to see Bridgewater back on the field and at full-strength. As well as what could have been in Minnesota if that knee injury didn’t happen back in 2016.