Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer met with his coaching staff during the off day Tuesday to adjust the number of reps given to certain players in preparation for their first preseason game against the Raiders next Friday.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner wouldn’t go into details about how the reps will be divided between quarterbacks Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder, but he said on Wednesday he expects the preseason games will weigh heavily into Zimmer’s decision on choosing a starter.
“We will have these guys ready, and they will have an opportunity to prepare and compete for the job,” Turner said. “Whoever ends up being the starting quarterback, he will be ready to play on opening day. I don’t have any concerns about that."
Turner again reiterated that the organization won’t be afraid to start Bridgewater if he outperforms Cassel and Ponder in training camp. While the quarterbacks are wearing red non-contact jerseys during practice, Turner said Bridgewater has been outstanding handling pressure.
“He doesn’t look at the line; he feels it, keeps his eyes up the field, makes throws with people around him and throws in real tight quarters where he doesn’t have real much room to work,” Turner said. “That’s not a big concern. I think that’s one of the best things he does right now.”
The Vikings offense will install plays during the afternoon practice while the coaching staff continues to evaluate their three quarterbacks. Turner said while the current collective bargaining agreement sets certain restrictions on offseason practices, he feels it’s easier for quarterbacks to learn his offense because it allows more time to teach the system.
“Those walkthroughs aren’t necessarily to teach people how to do it; you’re teaching them the mental part of what to do,” Turner said. “…I think from a quarterback position, I think getting them up to speed in terms of what to do, this system in the way it is now is outstanding for that. You just don’t get quite as many reps.”