The true major league era for Minnesota started in 1961. All these years later, I can’t remember a more popular player with less in-game excellence than Teddy Bridgewater, the now-injured Vikings quarterback.

Certainly, it is nothing more than human to be hopeful of a comeback for Bridgewater, after his severe knee injury in August 2016 came out of nowhere while he was dropping into the pocket in practice.

It caused a stir last week when vikings.com released a video of Bridgewater throwing passes during an offseason practice. There was considerable discussion in public forums as to what was the motive for the Vikings with this video.

My guess is the motive was the same as with every Website: “This will get a lot of hits.’’

The motive I haven’t been able to figure out since August of 2014 is this: “What has caused the Vikings faithful to be exuberant over Bridgewater with mostly mediocrity shown on the field?’’

Originally, some of it was hope after the failure of Christian Ponder. I get that. Bridgewater also offered a winning smile along with his boring quotes, and he was said to be excellent at signing autographs for the youth gathered in Mankato and other public settings.

Yet, his best play was down the stretch of the lost 7-9 season of 2014, and he was more along for the ride with Adrian Peterson and a stout defense than as a major playmaker in the 11-5 playoff season of 2015.

You can say Blair Walsh would not have had a chance to miss the field goal to lose the playoff game vs. Seattle without Bridgewater putting together a late drive. Of course, if Teddy had made even a couple of plays in the first 3 1/2 quarters, Seattle would have been beaten well before Walsh’s miss.

Bridgewater averaged 224.5 yards passing in his 13 starts as a rookie and 201.9 yards in 16 starts in 2015. “It was a conservative offense,’’ explain the Teddy zealots, without adding it was conservative because he was the quarterback.

The theory now is Teddy was ready to take off in his third season before the injury. Video aside, we won’t know about that until 2018.

PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK

No. 7 would be fine for the Wolves in the draft, if one of these freshmen is left:

*Malik Monk, Kentucky. He’s a 6-4 shooter who can get unstoppably hot. No weapon would better assist our unloved losers.

*Jonathan Issac, Florida State. He’s 6-foot-11, can shoot and handle the ball. Where do athletes of this size come from? Amazing.

*Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State. If you watched the Wolfpack at all and saw Smith carrying them, you would be OK with this explosive 6-foot-3 point guard.

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