Teddy Bridgewater’s dream of returning to the NFL field is very much within reach. It’s so close, no rational person could fault him for feeling frustrated as he’s been cleared by the Vikings medical staff to play, but will remain a backup Sunday against the Rams.
But Bridgewater’s personality and signature smile don’t crack easily. So he says he’s going to “trust the process” as the NFC North-leading Vikings continue with Case Keenum at quarterback, at least for one more week.
“For me, I feel like I’m out there taking mental reps, sharpening my game from a mental standpoint,” Bridgewater told Twin Cities reporters on Thursday. “We’re playing good football on offense, good football on defense, all three phases. For me, it’s about continuing to be patient and trust the process. And stand behind whoever is in there.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer waited until Wednesday to name Keenum his starter for Sunday. With a quick turnaround next week in Detroit on Thanksgiving, Bridgewater could be waiting a couple games for his next opportunity. The Vikings scored a season-high 38 points in Keenum’s fifth straight win last week in Washington.
Zimmer’s decision to stick with Keenum has been supported by the locker room both publicly and privately. Defensive end Everson Griffen, one of six team captains, shared a sentiment that a handful of players have also expressed behind the scenes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Bridgewater, who still holds the potential of the Vikings franchise quarterback, deflected the attention when asked if he knows when he’ll play.
“Who knows?” Bridgewater said. “I don’t want this to be about me. It’s about us. We’re sitting in a good position right now, pushing for the playoffs. Hopefully homefield advantage or something like that. You can’t take the attention away from that.”
He continues in a backup role, one play or decision away from his awaited return to the Vikings huddle.
“Usually when you have a dream, you wake up and you go back to sleep, you can’t pick up where that dream left off — it’s hard sometimes,” Bridgewater said. “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to pick up right where my dream left off.”