Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will attempt to beat out Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder for the starting quarterback job this summer. And if the rookie doesn’t, he’s content with not playing on Week 1.
“It’s not tough at all because I have nothing but my best interest for the team,” Bridgewater said. “And I’m very excited about this team that we have here. …If I’m not the guy then I know the coaches have the best interest for the team also. My teammates also have the best interest for the team. So in order for me to be a better player, I have to have the best interest for the team and want nothing but the best interest for the team.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said on Wednesday that Bridgewater will get his chance to play at some point but unsure whether it will be this year or next season. It all depends on how quickly Bridgewater, 21, can develop into what Zimmer, general manager Rick Spielman and offensive coordinator Norv Turner view as an NFL starting quarterback.
He’s already making strides and Zimmer has been impressed by his ability so far while also noting Bridgewater has a long way to go. He already found out that the speed in the NFL is much different than the pace in college. Bridgewater said his biggest challenge with the speed has been anticipating throws. He said he’s learning from Turner to trust his feet and throw on time when he sees a window.
“In college, open was 10 feet,” Bridgewater said. “Now in the NFL, open can be just a couple of inches. So just being more decisive, anticipating throws more and I feel like I’m doing a great job learning from Matt and Christian.”
While the NFL is quicker, Bridgewater said he’s managing the tempo with his breathing. He said he steps back and takes a deep breath to remain composed.
“That’s been helping me throughout this entire process of transitioning into the NFL to just controlling your breathing and slowing things down,” Bridgewater said. “Of course the NFL is much faster than it was in college but the guys are out here helping [me].”