VikesCentric is written by Twin Cities football writers Bo Mitchell of SportsData, Arif Hasan of Vikings Territory, Aj Mansour, who hosts Minnesota Vikings Overtime on KFAN, and Joe Oberle a long-time Minnesota based writer. The VikesCentric crew crunches numbers, watches video and isn't shy about saying what's on their minds.

VikesCentric: Teddy will be ready when it's his time

Posted by: Bo Mitchell Updated: August 27, 2014 - 9:11 AM

The three quarterbacks selected in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft – Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater -- will all open the season on their respective teams’ benches.

Chad Henne has been named the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. Brian Hoyer has been named the starting quarterback for the Browns. And Matt Cassel has been named the starting quarterback for the Vikings.

In a not-so-subtle effort to rile up some fan bases and stir up controversy, ESPN seized this opportunity to run a graphic on SportsCenter Tuesday morning showing the other quarterbacks selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2006 who did NOT start their first games as a professional. I double-checked their list just to make sure, and the players are as follows:

2011

Jake Locker

Blaine Gabbert

Christian Ponder

2010

Tim Tebow

2009

Josh Freeman

2007

JaMarcus Russell

Brady Quinn

2006

Vince Young

Matt Leinart

Jay Cutler

Of the 10 quarterbacks on the list, only two are still starting now (Cutler and Locker). Six are out of the league now (including Brady Quinn, who was released by the Dolphins yesterday). The other two are Gabbert and Ponder. Enough said, right? Time to leap to conclusions.

The implication of course is that nowadays, if a first-round quarterback doesn’t get the start from Game 1 of his career, it doesn’t bode well for his future. That may be true of recent history, but deductions based on small sample sizes and varied individual circumstances is bad science. In fact it’s not science.

Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton all started their first games in the NFL. Are we to assume then that Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater have no chance of being as good as any of these guys?

The comeback of course is that Brandon Weeden and Mark Sanchez both started their first games in the NFL, too. So there’s that.

I’m relatively certain that Jaguars, Browns and Vikings fans are glad their teams’ rookie quarterbacks aren’t being lumped onto the same list as those guys. Indeed I’m 100 percent sure Vikings fans are hoping Bridgewater’s career arc bears no similarities to those of Weeden or Sanchez.

As you might suspect (reading the bold print between the lines) my opinion of Bridgewater did not change when head coach Mike Zimmer named Cassel the starter on Monday. I figured from the beginning this was Cassel’s gig to lose, and to his credit he didn’t do so.

Coach Zimmer insisted Monday that Teddy really didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just, neither did Cassel.

“I’ve loved everything [Bridgewater has] done and it wasn’t anything that Teddy did or didn’t do but Teddy will be still, in my estimation, a great player for this franchise for years to come,” Zimmer said.

It is worth noting Bridgewater didn’t start his first three games at Louisville, either. Not starting from Game 1 in college frustrated him to the point of nearly quitting and transferring to a school closer to home. The reasoning: he would be able to start at a smaller school and he could better care for his mom, Rose, as she battled breast cancer. I detailed this trying time in Bridgewater’s life in my profile on him for the Official 2014 Minnesota Vikings Team Yearbook (available online and at the stadium).

Here’s an excerpt from that feature:

“My college plan wasn’t going the way that I wanted it to go, but that’s where the saying ‘delayed, never denied’ came into play… I wasn’t starting at first. I was telling my coaches, ‘I think I just want to go home, take care of my mom and get my education closer to home,’” Bridgewater told me.

He was close to walking away after just two games at Louisville, close to going home to help his mom. Close to changing all his plans. But he had a talk with the Cardinals team chaplain and decided to stick it out. His mom had taught him that mantra: “Blessings are never denied but they may be delayed.” It’s a saying you’ll still find on his Twitter page (@teddyb_h2o). Go back to May 8: “Delayed but never denied,” he tweeted shortly after the Vikings drafted him.

“It’s amazing how God works,” Bridgewater recalls. “Going into the week that we played Kentucky I had a great feeling that I was going to play and it just so happened our starting quarterback [Will Stein] was injured. I came in the game, I threw two touchdowns and we won the game.”

Bridgewater would go on to start against Marshall the following week and remained the starter for the rest of his career at Louisville.

You see, Bridgewater has been in this type of position before. I trust he learned from the Louisville experience that he shouldn’t get overly frustrated. He might be the one holding the clipboard and sipping Gatorade on the sideline in St. Louis a few weeks from now. But his time will come.

His number will be called.

It’s up to him to be prepared once it is, and on that front I’m convinced he will be.

We all saw it in the first three preseason games: Teddy passes the eye test. He looks like he belongs. He displays poise, flashes playmaking ability and puts points on the board.

He’ll be studying the entire time he’s forced to watch, taking mental reps with each snap of the ball Cassel takes.

One of the many things that stood out to me about Bridgewater from the time I sat down and interviewed him for the Yearbook piece back in June was his thirst for learning. He’s an absolute sponge.

He watches Cassel and Ponder closely.

“Just the way the guys approach each day has stood out to me,” Bridgewater told me. “I’ve just been able to learn from guys from a mental standpoint – seeing how guys prepare for practice, how Matt and Christian warm up, how they prepare themselves before they go in for their reps.”

Even when I switched gears in the conversation and asked Bridgewater about playing on the same team as Adrian Peterson, it didn’t take him long to go back to talking about studying and observing.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that you have the best running back in the National Football League behind you,” Teddy started, as most people would when asked about Peterson.

He then immediately added: “I’m just interested in learning from him also – from what motivates him, what gets him going, what drives him… For me it’s about the mental approach to the game. Because he’s had such success, I want to know what’s contributed to his success – his eating habits, his mental approach, his study habits, the way he trains his body in the weight room. I can’t wait to continue to learn from him.”

I walked away from that conversation awfully impressed with Bridgewater’s maturity, thoughtfulness, intelligence and eagerness to soak up all that he could.

Nothing is guaranteed, but if I were a betting man I’d say he has a much better chance of being the next Jay Cutler than the next Matt Leinart or JaMarcus Russell from that aforementioned list. He has the physical tools and you can bet he’s honing the mental tools as well.

No, he’s not starting in Week 1; but when he gets his chance, Teddy will be ready.

Head on over to VikingsJournal.com to join in on the discussion of Matt Cassel being named the starting quarterback and a look at whether Christian Ponder would be a good trade fit for the Rams.

Bo Mitchell is the Vice President of Content at SportsData, head writer at VikingsJournal.com, co-host of the Fantasy Football Pants Party at 1500ESPN.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.

You can follow Bo on Twitter at @Bo_Mitchell

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Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 21 4th Qtr 10:51
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 114 FINAL
New Orleans 88
Utah 86 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Atlanta 104 FINAL
Houston 97
San Antonio 93 FINAL
Dallas 99
Indiana 66 4th Qtr 2:36
Denver 69
Milwaukee 31 2nd Qtr 11:04
LA Clippers 28
Arizona 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
Buffalo 1
Philadelphia 7 FINAL
Toronto 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Montreal 4
Washington 4 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Florida 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Chicago 2 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
Nashville 6 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 5
Calgary 0 2nd Prd 16:08
Vancouver 2
St. Louis 0 2nd Prd
San Jose 0
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 69 FINAL
Binghamton 51
Montreat 64 FINAL
Campbell 90
Delaware 74 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
Vanderbilt 60 FINAL
Georgia Tech 65
SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
Missouri 59 FINAL
Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 71 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 64
Drexel 68 FINAL
Penn State 73
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Albany 64 FINAL
Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 74 FINAL
Longwood 106
Eastern Ill 60 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 58 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
Lafayette 69 FINAL
Kansas 96
Oral Roberts 63 FINAL
Memphis 78
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Delaware State 70 FINAL
Oregon 83
Fla Atlantic 56 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
Arkansas Tech 57 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 94
Howard Payne 50 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 89
UMBC 66 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
St Josephs (IN) 54 FINAL
Chicago State 77
Eastern Mich 77 FINAL
Missouri State 65
UCLA 44 FINAL
Kentucky 83
UC Davis 81 FINAL
Air Force 75
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
UC Riverside 78
Davidson 80 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 68
USC Upstate 53 FINAL
Miss State 51
NC Central 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 60
Illinois State 77 FINAL
Murray State 89
Louisiana 85 FINAL
Northwestern St 89
Oakland 77 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
Detroit 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 69
Presbyterian 60 FINAL
UT Martin 77
Monmouth 74 FINAL
Wagner 66
Southern U 39 FINAL
Wyoming 57
Iowa State 83 FINAL
Drake 54
Wake Forest 50 FINAL
Florida 63
High Point 80 FINAL
James Madison 71
Texas Southern 71 FINAL
Michigan State 64
New Hampshire 60 FINAL
Sacred Heart 73
Northeastern 78 FINAL
Santa Clara 72
Huston-Tillotson 56 FINAL
Texas State 90
Purdue 63 FINAL
Notre Dame 94
Prairie View 44 FINAL
Sam Houston St 61
Xavier 88 FINAL
Auburn 89
Bluffton 53 FINAL
Akron 92
NJIT 84 FINAL
Central Conn St 76
Hofstra 77 FINAL
Columbia 82
Boston Univ 62 FINAL
Dayton 78
Iona 81 FINAL
George Mason 86
Valparaiso 75 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 72
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
Kansas State 71
Morgan State 69 FINAL
Manhattan 73
Saint Josephs 75 FINAL
Marist 58
East Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 66
Richmond 65 FINAL
Pepperdine 63
La Salle 67 FINAL
Towson 53
Incarnate Word 110 FINAL
UMKC 104
CS-Bakersfield 59 FINAL
Idaho State 50
Iowa 44 FINAL
Northern Iowa 56
Milwaukee 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 61
Long Beach State 68 FINAL
Texas 78
TX-San Antonio 57 FINAL
TCU 88
SE Missouri St 67 FINAL
Arkansas 85
Lehigh 68 1st OT 0:58
Arizona State 68
New Mexico 69 FINAL
New Mexico St 67
Oklahoma 67 FINAL
Washington 69
Utah Valley U 61 FINAL
Weber State 73
Jacksonville St 60 FINAL
Northern Colorado 69
St Edwards 55 FINAL
Grand Canyon 81
NC State 46 2nd Half 12:20
West Virginia 50
TX A&M-CC 35 2nd Half 15:30
CS-Northridge 35
Cal Poly 26 2nd Half 16:12
Gonzaga 38
Fresno State 31 2nd Half 13:59
Pacific 44
Montana State 32 2nd Half 16:38
Portland 58
Ball State 26 2nd Half
San Diego St 36
South Dakota St 36 2nd Half 15:23
Utah State 31
Stanford 4 1st Half 17:22
BYU 11
Utah 10:30 PM
UNLV
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 7 3rd Qtr
Bowling Green 20
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
Alabama A&M 47 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Central Michigan 45 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 80
Nebraska Omaha 50 FINAL
Creighton 67
FIU 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
Nicholls 47
St Thomas Aquinas 45 FINAL
Army 70
St Bonaventure 72 FINAL
Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Missouri 79 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
Air Force 44 FINAL
Abilene Christian 80
Hampton 53 FINAL
James Madison 85
American Univ 64 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 52
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 68
Tenn Tech 49 FINAL
NC A&T 54
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
NC Central 33
Penn 58 FINAL
Drexel 67
Lipscomb 38 FINAL
Xavier 62
Vermont 40 FINAL
Green Bay 60
Charleston Southern 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 80
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
Jacksonville 62 FINAL
Murray State 80
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Iona 58
Indiana 88 FINAL
Oakland 61
Indiana State 64 FINAL
SMU 55
Denver 51 FINAL
Purdue 65
TX-San Antonio 48 FINAL
Texas Tech 64
UCF 57 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Campbell 66 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 55
Florida A&M 67 FINAL
SE Louisiana 69
Northwestern St 61 FINAL
Jackson State 62
Lehigh 61 FINAL
Arizona State 81
Valparaiso 65 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 77
Liberty 60 FINAL
Minnesota 74
Wofford 60 FINAL
North Florida 68
Montana State 61 FINAL
Washington St 82
Marshall 56 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 69
Morgan State 40 FINAL
Chattanooga 55
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Harvard 67
Furman 51 FINAL
(15) Georgia 58
(18) Michigan State 65 FINAL
(9) Baylor 84
Ohio U 52 FINAL
Massachusetts 59
Prairie View 48 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 86
Toledo 64 FINAL
Southern Ill 48
High Point 57 FINAL
(12) Nebraska 83
Winthrop 20 FINAL
Wichita State 66
William Jewell 59 FINAL
UMKC 51
Louisiana Tech 52 FINAL
Utah 67
Southern Utah 51 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 76
San Jose St 62 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
San Diego State 54
Norfolk State 36 FINAL
East Carolina 65
Saint Peters 49 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 59
Arizona 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 72
Northwestern 92 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 44
Oral Roberts 52 FINAL
Wisconsin 70
Florida Atlantic 44 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
La Salle 76 FINAL
Georgia State 68
(16) Oregon State 73 FINAL
Nevada 50
Sacred Heart 72 FINAL
Villanova 49
Delaware 59 FINAL
Cincinnati 67
Troy 75 FINAL
Tennessee St 71
Saint Louis 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 66
Washington 74 FINAL
UC-Riverside 71
Pacific 43 FINAL
Long Beach St 53
Old Dominion 69 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 63
Austin Peay 45 2nd Half 7:41
Montana 59
Lewis-Clark State 25 2nd Half 14:51
Idaho 48
(21) Miss State 34 1st Half 1:52
Illinois-Chicago 18
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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