Head coach Mike Zimmer recently announced that rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would be getting some first-team reps during OTAs, meaning the signal-caller from Louisville is in prime position to be the Minnesota Vikings‘ Week 1 starter at quarterback.
Sure the Vikings have Matt Cassel under contract for another two seasons, but he clearly doesn’t possess the same long-term potential as Bridgewater, who is just 21 years old compared to the 32-year-old Cassel. Bridgewater has spent only limited time with the Vikings coaching staff during rookie minicamp, but apparently he looked good enough to garner consideration for the starting spot.
Bridgewater was the most pro-ready quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, therefore his slide to the end of the first round shouldn’t have you worried he won’t be an instant success. The Vikings already have a solid running game led by Adrian Peterson, and with Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson at wide receiver, Bridgewater will have plenty of weapons around him to lessen the pressure to carry this team.
Russell Wilson entered a similar situation with the Seattle Seahawks when he was drafted in 2012, and after beating out the recently signed Matt Flynn, he went on to throw for over 3,000 yards, 26 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. Wilson was also part of an offense that had a strong running game, and as a result he wasn’t asked to win games but simply to manage them.
Bridgewater should be put in the same situation given he wins the starting quarterback role as it will make the transition to the NFL easier and also ensure the Vikings have success with a rookie under center. He doesn’t posses any elite traits, but his football IQ is extremely high. Considering he threw just four interceptions last year, it’s become common knowledge that he’s a good decision maker who limits turnovers and doesn’t force throws, which is often the downfall of many young quarterbacks.
While we still have all summer until the regular season begins, Bridgewater already has an upper hand on the other rookie quarterbacks as he’s in a position to win the starting job from an established veteran. That’s a much more difficult task than coming into a QB-needy team like the Jacksonville Jaguars or Cleveland Browns.