The Minnesota Vikings went into the 2014 NFL Draft knowing they needed to address the quarterback position, and did exactly that when they traded back into the first round to select Teddy Bridgewater.
While there are several concerns surrounding the Louisville product, the belief is that Bridgewater will be starting for the Vikings at some point during the 2014 campaign. Even if he isn’t the Day 1 starter, the rookie will have every opportunity to steal the starting job if Matt Cassel, the expected starter, struggles early.
When training camp gets under way, Bridgewater will be looking to silence critics after a horrid Pro Day showing that plummeted his draft stock. Concerns about inaccuracy, size and leadership will prevail as the Vikings get their summer going, but Bridgewater has the talent to make folks remember why he was once considered the top prospect of the 2014 draft class.
Bridgewater certainly has some limitations in terms of size, but shows outstanding arm talent on film. His accuracy is a work in progress, but isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. Bridgewater also has the arm strength to make all of the NFL throws. On top of that, he shows good composure under pressure, is a great athlete and is a proven winner who, contradictory to popular belief, shows great leadership.
On top of answering lingering questions, Bridgewater will also be looking to unseat Cassel as the starter in Minnesota during training camp. The coaching staff has made it clear that they don’t plan on rushing their first-round pick into the driver’s seat immediately, but also aren’t going to force him to the bench if he outperforms Cassel. Early reports from OTAs indicate Bridegewater could take the reins sooner rather than later.
Obviously, Christian Ponder isn’t really part of the competition for the starting quarterback job, so Bridgewater shouldn’t be concerned about him.
One way or another, chances are that Bridgewater will see the field at some point in 2014. The Vikings know that Cassel is nothing more than stop-gap at quarterback, and they didn’t trade up for Bridgewater just to watch him ride the bench. Training camp and the preseason will give us a decent idea of how long it could be before we see No. 5 under center.
By all appearances, the Vikings have found their quarterback of the future. Get ready to watch Bridgewater shredding secondaries for years to come.