Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vikes see Bridgewater in new light

Take QB with first-round pick based on team's private workout

  • Print
Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

FRANK FRANKLIN II / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Like everyone else, the Minnesota Vikings' brain trust wasn't exactly blown away by Teddy Bridgewater's pro day throwing session March 17 at Louisville.

But team officials saw a different guy weeks later at a private throwing session, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Thursday night, shortly after the team traded back into the final slot in the NFL draft's first round and took Bridgewater 32nd overall.

"Totally different," Spielman said. "And then to see him respond to the way Norv (Turner, the Vikings' offensive co-ordinator) and Scott (Turner, the quarterbacks coach) were coaching him during that workout was remarkable.

"That said, this guy is what we saw on tape."

Bridgewater passed for 9,817 yards and 72 touchdowns in three seasons as the starter at Louisville and was projected as the possible No. 1 overall draft pick just a few months ago. But the pro day started a seven-week run of media criticism and speculation he might not even be taken in Round 1.

It was close, but the Vikings shipped pick No. 40 plus a fourth rounder to the Seattle Seahawks to move up eight spots -- a move driven in part by the fact taking Bridgewater in the first round instead of early in the second would give them a fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

"You know the thing I like the most about him? He wins," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of Bridgewater, who was 27-8 as the starter in a pro-style offence at Louisville.

"Everywhere he's ever been, he wins. Starts as a freshman in high school, wins. Starts as a freshman in college and wins. This guy -- he's got something about him."

So, what happened at the pro day?

Zimmer suggested it was Bridgewater's decision not to wear a glove on his throwing hand, as he did throughout his college career. For the private workout with the Vikings, it was back on.

"It was a decision that I made based off the way I was training prior to the pro day," Bridgewater said. "But walking away from the pro day, I learned a valuable lesson to just continue to do what got you here and do what you're comfortable doing."

One other factor in Bridgewater's favor with the Vikings: an analytical study that showed he was the best of the draft's quarterbacks against the blitz.

"He's very cool and calm under pressure," Spielman said. "He has mobility in the pocket to make plays."

It was the third time in three years Spielman had traded back into the bottom of the first round, helping the Vikings amass seven first-round picks in that span. They took UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr at No. 9 on Thursday after trading down one spot with the Cleveland Browns.

Spielman acknowledged the Vikings had talks about moving up higher into the bottom half of the first round to take a quarterback but wouldn't comment when asked if it was for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who went to the Browns at No. 22 instead.

Unlike Manziel, who figures to start from Day 1, Bridgewater may sit for a while. The Vikings re-signed veteran Matt Cassel to a two-year, $10.5 million contract in March and still have Christian Ponder, their first-round pick three years ago.

According to Spielman, the Vikings learned lessons from Ponder's stunted development about not rushing a young quarterback into action, though neither he nor Zimmer would rule out Bridgewater competing for the job as a rookie.

Said Zimmer: "Teddy will play when we feel like he's ready -- if he's the best guy, which we hope that he will."


-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2014 C5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

It’s the End Of the Term And They Know It, Part Two

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the biggest disappointment on the Jets to start the season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google