As of July of 2016, Teddy Bridgewater was all but certain to be the future of the Minnesota Vikings. One year later, the question lingers as to whether or not he will ever play football again, for the Vikings or otherwise.
The State of Teddy Bridgewater and His Future With the Minnesota Vikings
In a typical summer practice last August with the team, Teddy suffered an extremely unordinary and tragic injury. He had dislocated his patella, tearing the ACL and damaging other ligaments in the knee in the process. The injury occurred without contact from any opposing player, making the injury a rare for the sport. Unlike the typical run-of-the-mill ACL tear, the severity was enough to warrant an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
Following the injury and the surgery that was completed to repair the damage, experts agreed that an injury of this type would typically take a minimum of 18 months to heal. Some even speculated that he may not ever be able to take the field again.
The Vikings made a blockbuster trade for former first overall pick Sam Bradford, who more than adequately held down the fort in Bridgewater’s absence. Bradford set the NFL record for completion percentage by a quarterback over the length of a season. The only caveat to that fact is that his yards per completion weren’t all that impressive.
This spring, the Vikings front office declined Bridgewater’s fifth-year option due to the uncertainty surrounding his future.
That does not mean that his tenure with the Vikings is up. If he doesn’t play this season and remains on the injured reserve, his fourth contract year will carry over to the 2018 season. And if by chance he does play, he can negotiate for a new deal with the Vikings.
Everything that has come out of the Vikings organization, both from staff and players, is that they are not ready to give up on Bridgewater. Head Coach Mike Zimmer talks of him glowingly.
Even from his days at Louisville, his personality has always been his strongest asset. His optimism and drive for success are what make him such an ideal leader for any organization. He has formed strong bonds on the Minnesota squad with the staff and in the locker room. It’s rare to see a player come into an organization at such a young age and become a guy that his peers look up to right away. Teddy is that guy.
Physically, he is showing signs of being much further in his rehab than initially projected for this stage. Teddy Two-Gloves was throwing and taking drop steps at the Vikings off-season OTAs this Spring. While there is a huge gap from non-contact throwing to live gameplay, his progress is promising.
For now the Vikings have a reliable band-aid in Sam Bradford. It will be best for both Bridgewater and the Vikings to let Bradford run the offense for all of 2017. There is no need to rush the healing process. The team needs to be fully supportive of Bradford from day one.
If Bridgewater does return to his former state, the 2018 quarterback competition in Minnesota will be one to watch. A player’s mindset can go a long way in the success of rehabilitation. That being said, expect Teddy Bridgewater to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings organization for years to come.