The Minnesota Vikings traded a second and fourth-round draft selection to the Seattle Seahawks for the final pick of the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft. With that pick, the Vikings selected former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
As of right now, Bridgewater sits third on the Vikings depth chart behind projected starter Matt Cassel and former starter, and 2011 first-round draft pick, Christian Ponder. Don’t expect the order to remain this way for very long.
Rookie head coach Mike Zimmer has already stated that he will start the quarterback who gives the Vikings the best opportunity to win. While Cassel performed fairly well when he played last season, he is not a long-term option at quarterback for the Vikings.
Bridgewater has flaws, as all rookie quarterbacks do. However, he has the unique ability to perform well under pressure. Against the blitz last season, Bridgewater completed over 70 percent of his passes, including 15 touchdowns and only one interception. This is an area that Ponder and even Cassel struggled with last season.
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has marveled at Bridgewater’s ability to look off defensive backs with his eyes. He has shown no issue getting to his second and third progressions despite facing frequent pressure. These are abilities that some veteran NFL quarterbacks still struggle with.
In 1,124 passing attempts at Louisville, Bridgewater finished with a completion percentage of 68.4, improving this percentage each season. Under Turner, Bridgewater should continue to develop and improve his passing abilities.
While it has proven beneficial for a rookie quarterback to take a backseat to a veteran, it will be difficult for the Vikings to sit Bridgewater, as he is one of the few pro-ready quarterbacks from the 2014 draft class. With such lackluster talent in front of him on the Vikings’ quarterback depth chart, it is very likely that Bridgewater will get the nod as the Vikings’ starter for Week 1 of the 2014 regular season.