If the Minnesota Vikings want to waste a first-round pick, then immediately starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the right decision.
The Vikings have not finished first in the NFC North since 2009, and the organization has struggled for years to find a consistent option at quarterback. One of the few bright spots for the team has been running back Adrian Peterson, but he can not carry the entire offense on his back. While the Vikings were mainly concerned about improving the defense that ranked 31st against the pass 16th against the rush in this year’s draft, adding Bridgewater was an instant upgrade for the offense.
Bridgewater’s draft stock was all over the place in the weeks leading up to his selection, but he was still worth a first-round pick. If you followed his career through college, Bridgewater’s work ethic and ability to execute on what he has learned are unmatched. The young quarterback reviewed every single play of his 2011 season, and his improvement from year to year was the result of his dedication and hard work.
Other than playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson, receivers Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and tight end Kyle Rudolph are the only other warm bodies that Bridgewater could throw to. Peterson can catch little dump offs when called upon, but his main role in the offense is cemented as the rushing attack. The Jacksonville Jaguars did a great job to surround rookie quarterback Blake Bortles with plenty of weapons, but Bridgewater was not as fortunate as his fellow draft prospect.
The fans may not like it, but sitting Bridgewater behind Matt Cassel for one year is the best scenario for the future of the organization. The 21-year-old quarterback needs time to understand the system and learn in practice before he can find success as a starting quarterback. By next year, Patterson should be in his prime and the Vikings can add additional wide receivers for Bridgewater to target.
Starting Cassel would be the start of another long year, but the Vikings could set the team back for the next five years if Bridgewater is started too early.