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Bridgewater

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Vikings' Bridgewater shows that he belongs in the NFL, Turner says

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • August 11, 2014 - 11:36 PM

Norv Turner is an old-school coach who doesn’t need new math to help him count preseason snaps.

So you might want to count ’em first before asking the Vikings offensive coordinator if rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs more time with the first unit to better assess his battle with Matt Cassel.

“That is so overrated,” Turner said. “You get an evaluation of a guy when he plays. The things that are going to happen to him with the seconds are the same exact things that are going to happen to him with the ones.”

Then Turner did the math — literally — from Friday night’s preseason opener against the Raiders.

“Teddy got a 10-play drive with the ones,” he said. “He got as many snaps as Matt did with the ones.”

Friday night, Cassel looked crisp as he completed five of six passes to four targets for 62 yards during a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. Bridgewater went 1-for-2 for 13 yards while helping the first unit to a field goal. He also held the ball too long and too loosely on a strip sack in the red zone.

“Teddy showed all of the things that you need to be a quarterback in this league,” Turner said.

The Vikings have not finalized their plans for the quarterbacks in Saturday’s game against Arizona.

“Obviously, Matt got 10 plays,” Turner said. “So he is going to get more than that.”

Barr still crawling

As far as recognizing his reads, rookie outside linebacker Anthony Barr passed his first test in Friday night’s preseason opener. But when you’re the ninth overall pick and you’re as big and as fast as Barr is, well, coaches have much higher hopes for you.

“We were pleased with what we saw, but we’re looking for him to turn it all the way loose now,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “Not be hesitant as far as his keys and his reads and those kind of things. Just turn it loose and go.”

Depth tested at NT

Veteran Fred Evans is expected to start at nose tackle on Saturday as Linval Joseph recovers from the minor gunshot wound suffered early Saturday morning.

“[Friday night] was the best Fred has looked since we’ve had him,” Zimmer said.

But keep an eye on rookie Shamar Stephen, a seventh-round draft pick who saw time on the nose last Friday.

Stephens, a 6-5, 310-pounder, was sturdy at the point of attack.

“He held up pretty good in there,” Edwards said.

The Priefer plan

Joe Marciano, a 60-year-old man with 28 years as an NFL special teams coach, isn’t the retiring type. The Vikings interim special teams coach said he’s looking for a full-time job for next season but isn’t angling to become Mike Priefer’s full-time replacement in Minnesota.

“You don’t replace Mike Priefer,” Marciano said. “I’ve known him a long time. He’s as fine a coach and fine an individual as there is. He has such command in that room. The players respect him.”

Marciano joined the team on Sunday. He’ll work with Priefer and assistant Ryan Ficken until the regular season, when Priefer will begin serving his suspension for an anti-gay comment made in 2012.

“Mike’s way works,” Marciano said. “I’m not here to invent the wheel.”

Injury update

• Defensive tackle Tom Johnson (biceps) and safeties Mistral Raymond (unspecified) and Jamarca Sanford (back) returned from injuries to practice Monday night. Safety Robert Blanton (hamstring) remained sidelined.

• Zimmer said tight end Chase Ford (foot) appears to be “probably 10 days” from being taken off the physically unable to perform list.

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