Over the past couple of days, we have been given clues that Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would get some time with the first-team offense during Friday night’s preseason opener against the Raiders. This morning, head coach Mike Zimmer finally came out and said it.
“Teddy will get some reps with the first team, yes,” Zimmer said after the morning walkthrough.
Yesterday, Zimmer said that Bridgewater would get a significant amount of playing time against the Raiders and offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he needed to see Bridgewater with the first-string offensive line at some point. Now we know the first glimpse will definitely be Friday.
So what is Zimmer looking to see from the rookie as he tries to unseat current QB1 Matt Cassel?
“How he handles the game situations. When the lights come on, it will be a different deal,” Zimmer said. “It will be good for him and how he reacts to seeing different defenses he hasn’t seen very much of, how he has to adjust to the blitz, get the ball out, make the right calls. How he plays under pressure. I anticipate he’s going to play very well.”
Zimmer, who chatted about Bridgewater’s progression with former Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon yesterday when Gannon was here for a radio gig, believes things are slowing down for the rookie.
“It takes time with young guys, but he has so much talent, so much ability,” Zimmer said. “He’s such a good kid. He works so hard. It will come. We’ve been giving him a lot of looks on defense and honestly that’s by design. When he’s in there, I try to give him a lot of things because I know that’s what he’s going to see. He’s handled it well.”
Zimmer didn’t just talk about Bridgewater, of course. Another highlight was when he was asked how his game plan for the Raiders is shaping up. He chuckled before sharing what he is looking for.
“It’s good. It’s very simple, very simple,” Zimmer said. “Really, what we’re trying to do in this football game is I want our players to play fast and I want them to have to not think about what their assignment is so we’ll be very, very basic in everything we do. We are trying to evaluate our players on their athletic ability, not how fast they are thinking about everything.”
Zimmer said that after two weeks here in Mankato, he needs to see the Vikings play somebody else.
“We just want to go out and play and it’s going to give us a good judge of where we’re at,” he said.