Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is pleased with the groundwork the Vikings have laid throughout the first quarter of the season, despite Sunday’s 23-20 loss at Denver and a .500 record entering their bye week.
“I think we laid a solid foundation over the first four games of the season,” Bridgewater said on Tuesday at Winter Park, “we also know that we have a lot of work to continue to do. We’ll get some guys healthy and take advantage of this bye week.
“It’s not a bad position to be, .500. … We’d love to be 3-1 or 4-0 right now, but we just want to learn from these first four games and continue to build off them.”
An early bye gives the Vikings a chance to self-assess sooner than later, Bridgewater added. They fell behind 13-0 on Sunday, but recovered late in the first half to trail 13-10 at the break. They tied the game 20-20 with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter, but Peyton Manning led the Broncos on a game-winning drive in the final minutes.
Bridgewater fumbled while being sacked during the Vikings’ final drive of the game. He threw for 269 yards, one touchdown and completed 27 of 41 pass attempts.
Bad starts were a reoccurring theme in the Vikings’ two losses this season. They fell behind 10-0 against San Francisco before finally scoring in the fourth quarter of a 20-3 loss. In their two victories against Detroit and San Diego, the Vikings built early leads.
“We’re working on starting fast each ball game and against Detroit and San Diego I think we got off to fast starts. Last week, we kind of felt our way around a little bit,” Bridgewater said. “For the most part, we’re a team that is playing physical and I’m proud of the guys the way they’re competing each week. Coach [Mike] Zimmer wants us to be a physical team and that’s what these guys are doing right now. They understand coach Zimmer’s message.”
Denver’s physical defense sacked Bridgewater seven times on Sunday, but the quarterback said he feels good and was able to take every rep during Tuesday’s practice.
Wide receiver Charles Johnson (ribs), safety Andrew Sendejo (knee) and defensive end Justin Trattou did not practice. Johnson and Sendejo stretched with the team, but Trattou was absent. Wide receiver Mike Wallace was also absent for unknown reasons.