There have been quarterbacking performances for the Vikings in Lambeau Field in this century that were so hapless as to become part of Purple lore. There were extraordinary circumstances for the three most-memorable:
*The Vikings went to Green Bay on Dec. 30, 2001 with Daunte Culpepper and his backup, Todd Bouman, injured. Vagabond quarterback Spergon Wynn was making the second of what would be three starts to close the season.
Wynn was 11 for 30 for 114 yards and a touchdown, with three interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 20.0. The Vikings lost 24-13, in what became Dennis Green’s last game as coach.
Owner Red McCombs was going to fire Green, but Dennis claimed to have beat him to it by resigning. Mike Tice coached the last game of the 5-11 season in Baltimore, again with Wynn as quarterback.
*The Vikings went to Green Bay for a Thursday night game on Dec. 21, 2006. There were two games left in Brad Childress’ tense first season as coach, and he decided to bench veteran Brad Johnson and go with Tarvaris Jackson, the rookie second-rounder.
The Vikings received a stout defensive effort, losing 9-7. Jackson went 10 fo 20 for 50 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. He had a quarterback rating of 50.0 -- not low enough to adequately reflect how discombobulated Jackson was in his first start.
*The Vikings went to Green Bay on Jan. 5, 2013 for a second-ever playoff game at Lambeau. Christian Ponder warmed up and was declared unable to play. That gave the quarterback duty to Joe Webb. He had three starts in 2010 and 2011, but Webb had not thrown a pass during the 2012 regular season.
He threw the ball wildly and finished 11 for 30 for 180 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. He had a 54.9 rating in a 24-10 loss.
T.E. Bridgewater II was not as inept at quarterback as Wynn, JAckson and Webb in the Vikings’ 20-13 victory on Sunday night in Lambeau Field.
But he was close.
Two Gloves Teddy went 10 for 18 right-handed for 99 yards, and 0 for 1 with an interception left-handed, for an overall rating of 45.7.
Even with the victory and the NFC North title, this was disturbing for Vikings loyalists, who are desperate to have everyone buy into the idea that Bridgewater is on the way to being an exceptional quarterback.
Most of the people with whom I was interacting on Twitter and elsewhere were not able to accept the idea their guy Teddy was terrible on this night and to move on.
They were looking for excuses, as has been the case during and after the half-dozen clunkers that Bridgewater has offered up in his second season.
It was popular to blame offensive coordinator Norv Turner for not calling the plays “that had worked’’ for Bridgewater in the previous three weeks. And, as always, it was popular to blame the offensive line for not giving Bridgewater those four or five seconds that in some games it takes him to make up his mind when Option A is covered.
This young man is limited. Most weeks, the TV analysts have gone out of their way to praise Bridgewater and to offer excuses when necessary. They also have started to point out the low delivery point in his throwing motion. With a better motion, the lack of arm strength that’s mentioned with Bridgewater could be less of an issue.
As an athlete, I’d call him “high average’’ – good enough but far from exceptional.
If I was one of you folks with an emotional investment in the Vikings, what would drive me nuts about Two Gloves Teddy is the number of times that he starts back-tracking to his right with only one idea:
To throw the ball past the yard marker and avoid a sack.
When you see a big-time quarterback, such as Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers (before the last 60 percent of this season), rolling away from pressure, they are looking to make a play and throw it away when all options are expired. Bridgewater just wants to get rid of it and avoid the sack too often for my taste.
The greatest myth with Bridgewater is that the lone reason he slipped in the draft was because of a “bad workout day’’ at Louisville – and the crafty Vikings went in and evaluated him again (with gloves on, apparently) and saw the “real’’ Teddy.
Nonsense. Bridgewater fell to bottom third of first round in the 2014 draft because of his questionable throwing motion, his limited arm strength and his average athletic ability … not because he made a bunch of bad throws on his workout day.
If you’re honest -- and hardcore fans who want to have visions of Super Bowls in the future have a tendency not to be – you will admit that Bridgewater has not played as well in this second season as anticipated.
He had 12 starts as a rookie in 2014, several of them in the football version of “garbage time’’ (December games in a lost season), with a gaudy completion percentage. The Purple face-painters looked at this as reality.
No. It was like Zach LaVine getting 18 in the fourth quarter of a blowout.
The reality is that Bridgewater has been OK this season: some good, some bad, and then real ugly on Sunday in Lambeau.
If Bridgewater plays like he did in Arizona’s dome last month in Sunday’s bitter cold at TCF Bank Stadium, if he makes six or seven tough throws in the clutch to his outstanding group of receivers, the Vikings have a chance to upset the Seahawks.
If Bridgewater goes the entire game without making an above-average play, as was the case against the Packers, even the Vikings’ terrific defense won’t be able to bail him out.