Hartman: Bridgewater making it look easy in first weeks with Vikings

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 20, 2014 - 1:08 AM

In only a few weeks as a pro, the first-round pick has shown the Vikings he is a natural at QB.

When asked about the progress of Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, offensive coordinator Norv Turner said: “It’s always fun with a younger player, it’s all new to him. They have big eyes.

“Teddy is so great to be around that it is easy. As coach [Mike] Zimmer has said, he knows how to work. He is very instinctive. He is a very natural player.”

The first-round pick out of Louisville has particularly been impressive with his accuracy, Turner said.

“I knew he would make great decisions, quick decisions, but he has been outstanding throwing the ball deep, which some people thought was going to be an issue,” Turner said. “I think in the six to eight weeks we have had him on the field, I think he’s been in a position where he had to make most of the throws he would have to make, and I think can make all the throws he needs to make.”

There is no doubt that Bridgewater has performed much better early on than Vikings coaches expected.

Incidentally, Bridgewater said he was concerned he might have been drafted by the Cleveland Browns and is happy to have landed with the Vikings.

He had heard from his agent that Cleveland had interest in him, and that was one place he didn’t want to go. Apparently from the start, Bridgewater felt comfortable with the Vikings and their family environment. And while most other Vikings players will leave town and go to their homes around the country during the offseason, Bridgewater is making his home here year-round.

Gibson back to form

Kyle Gibson is on one of the best pitching streaks in Twins history, with 22 consecutive scoreless innings ranking as the third-longest streak for the franchise.

Gibson has also put together the most starts in Major League Baseball this season with at least five innings pitched and one or fewer runs, with nine such performances.

In his past five starts he is 2-1 with a 1.09 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 33 innings pitched, and he is starting to look like the potential ace the Twins believed they had in him.

In 2011, Gibson had to have Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, meaning he would miss the season. He said that while he knew the injury would delay his big-league debut, he believed he could get back to his peak form.

“You know what, I think I was lucky enough to have a couple of really good doctors … and never did I have the doubt that I wasn’t going to be able to pitch again,” he said. “I did realize it was going to cause me to miss some time in baseball, and you never want to do that, but I think I grew mentally from it.”

Gibson, 26, was a first-round pick in 2009 out of the University of Missouri, and the Twins might have gotten lucky that he fell to them at No. 22 overall. He was coming back from a stress fracture in his forearm that led some other teams to pass on him.

“I really had no idea where I was going to be drafted in 2009, because you know the injury did throw up some red flags,” he said. “But interestingly, the Twins had only seen me throw once or twice, and one of those outings I went two innings and gave up nine runs. … I was surprised [that they drafted me]. But I’m definitely thankful they gave me that opportunity.”

Spielman’s sons

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman’s sons J.D. and Ronnie won a state high school championship in boys’ lacrosse Tuesday when Eden Prairie beat Rosemount 13-11. Both are committed to play at Ohio State and are taking part in some of the best lacrosse tournaments in the country this summer.

J.D., a junior this fall, is attending the King of the Hill tournament near Baltimore this weekend, while Ronnie, who just graduated, has been recruited by a team out of California to play in a national tournament in Vail, Colo.

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