The Minnesota Vikings selected Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and are hoping that he can turn into the quarterback of the future for them.
Bridgewater showed some major signs of talent in college, and there were many draft scouts early on in the process that had him rated as the best quarterback available. Since arriving in Minnesota, things have been moving fairly slowly for Bridgewater. Head coach Mike Zimmer came out recently to the press, and hinted that Bridgewater hasn’t fully grasped the offensive system.
“He’s got so much going on in his mind right now that I just want him to play,” Zimmer said. “That’s what I told him [Wednesday], and that’s what I’m going to tell him before the ballgame. Just go play. You’ve been doing this since you were 5 years old. Go play and have some fun. Throw the ball in there. If you make a mistake, we’ll fix it and go on.”
At this point in time, Bridgewater appears to be in agreement with his head coach about where he stands.
“Basically, I have to stop overthinking,” he said. “I haven’t been pressing, but I have been overthinking.”
While this type of comment can be taken the wrong way and be spun into Bridgewater not looking good so far, that simply isn’t the case here. Zimmer is simply saying that at this point, Bridgewater is struggling with something that most NFL rookie quarterbacks struggled with, which is learning the playbook. The NFL game is much different from college, and is much more complex than these players are used to.
Bridgewater showed a lot of potential in his junior season at Louisville last year, throwing for 3,970 yards and 31 touchdowns. He turned the football over just four times, and completed 71.0 percent of his passes. Those numbers are big, and they show exactly how much talent he does have coming out of college.
Minnesota is currently expected to start Matt Cassel in Week 1, with Christian Ponder also being in the running. It appears that Bridgewater will begin his NFL career learning from the sidelines, which is not a bad place to be at all. The worst thing that the Vikings could do is throw Bridgewater out there before he is ready.
It will be very interesting to see where Bridgewater is at when the final preseason game concludes, and if he can force his name back in the starting quarterback competition. He definitely has more talent than either of the two quarterbacks that he is competing with, but he simply doesn’t have the experience that they do. Don’t be surprised to see him pushing Ponder and Cassel during the midway point of the season.