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Bridgewater, Hill back to throwing at Vikings practice

Starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and veteran backup Shaun Hill both threw passes in individual and team drills during today’s practice.

Bridgewater was held out of part of an early practice period where the quarterbacks chucked deep balls. And he didn’t appear in team drills to attempt any passes that traveled more than 15 yards past the line and some of the shorter throws he made noticeably lacked a little velocity. But the fact that he is back to throwing passes is a good sign for the Vikings.

Bridgewater, who was held out of last Thursday’s preseason win over the Seahawks, did not throw a pass during either of the team’s practices over the weekend. He was suited up, though, and handed the ball off in some team drills. The Vikings moved a practice originally scheduled for Monday to today, in part because they needed to have enough quarterbacks.

Mike Zimmer would not say whether Bridgewater will play in either of the team’s two remaining preseason games. But he does not think it would be a big deal if Bridgewater is unable to play again during the preseason.

“He’s played an awful lot of games. It’s not like he’s a first-year rookie,” the coach said. “We’re going to continue to do what we think is best.”

Hill, meanwhile, did not appear to have any limitations after he did not participate at all in Saturday and Sunday’s practices. He completed a pair of deep balls to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in team drills today.

Teams are not obligated to issue injury reports during training camp, and after today’s practice, Zimmer defended his lack of transparency about the status of his starting quarterback after holding him out in Seattle.

“I told you guys when I first got here I would try and be as transparent and honest as I can and I will be. But there are certain things I’m not going to tell you,” Zimmer said without prompting. “If he had an issue with his shoulder then I’m going to make sure that I err on the side of caution. Because if I played him and he got hurt, you guys would be killing me in the press. I’m always going to protect the players. I’m going to do what I think is best for the organization and you’re going to have to respect that.”

The Vikings host their preseason home opener, their first game at U.S. Bank Stadium, on Sunday against the Chargers. We’ll see if Bridgewater progresses enough during the week to get some action in that game.

Behind Bridgewater and Hill, undrafted rookie Joel Stave has gotten plenty of work in the first two preseason games. The Vikings signed Brad Sorensen over the weekend for an extra arm. It is unclear if he will play Sunday.

Last year’s third-stringer Taylor Heinicke, is now out of the walking boot that he had been wearing after surgery to repair a tendon in his foot. But he remains on the non-football injury list for the foreseeable future.

Bridgewater or Carr? Why deflate one's value to inflate the other's

I was on the air with an Atlanta radio program last week when one of the co-hosts asked what Teddy Bridgewater has to do to bounce back from an “abysmal” season.

That seemed a tad extreme, even by radio standards. Must have been a fantasy football player.

Sure, Teddy left room to grow in 2015. He was 22 going on 23. But “abysmal”? First of all, there’s never been an abysmal quarterback who has started every game for an 11-win playoff team.

Later, the name of Derek Carr came up. As the 36th pick of the 2014 draft, Carr, the Raiders’ starting quarterback, was taken four spots behind Bridgewater. Naturally, comparisons were made between the two. As long as one of them is still in the league, comparisons are going to be made.

I get it that the Raiders are a trendy pick to actually do something of note for the first time since they last made the playoffs 13 seasons ago. And I get it that Carr’s talented arm is a big part of Oakland’s rare AFC West optimism (not to mention that the Broncos lost QBs Nos. 1 & 2).

But too often people have to deflate one player to inflate another. I think Carr and Bridgewater are both good quarterbacks who can succeed in the NFL for a fair amount of time. But they’re on two completely different teams and have been in two completely different situations up to this point.

Carr threw 32 touchdowns a year ago. Bridgewater threw 14. Carr threw for nearly 4,000 yards. Bridgewater threw for just over 3,200.

But it’s misleading to looking at cumulative stats at the end of a season without the context of how each individual game unfolded. Christian Ponder threw for over 300 yards at Washington a few years back, and it was a classic poor quarterbacking performance. His turnovers near the goal line put the Vikings in a hole that, A, they couldn’t get out of; and B, padded Ponder’s passing stats with meaningless garbage time.

For another example, look no further than the Bridgewater-Carr meeting just last fall in Oakland.

Carr threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Bridgewater threw for 140 yards and one touchdown.

Bridgewater didn’t turn the ball over and won 30-14. Carr threw two picks during a 7-9 season.

Bridgewater is 17-11 as a starter. Carr is 10-22.

Yes, Carr’s passer rating last year was 91.1, three spots ahead of Bridgewater’s 88.7. But there’s a number for every side of an argument. Case in point: Carr’s fourth-quarter passer rating was 67.5, which was 38th in the league and 15 spots lower than Bridgewater’s 90.0.

Despite their preseason hype, the Raiders aren’t wowing anybody with their first-team offense through two preseason games (1-1). Carr has a 48.3 passer rating and has put only two field goals on the board in about three quarters of work.

Bridgewater, of course, didn’t play in the second preseason game. He’s one of only two QBs in the league — along with Cowboys backup Dak Prescott — with a perfect preseason passer rating of 158.3. But as we all should know, there’s more to judging quarterbacks than stats.