Under his helmet, Teddy Bridgewater tested his dropbacks against the weight of a resistance band held by Vikings assistant athletic trainer Tom Hunkele, continuing his rehabilitation for the first time in front of reporters during Wednesday’s practice.
Almost nine months removed to the day of his catastrophic knee dislocation and multiple ligament tears, Bridgewater was in good spirits as he prodded Latavius Murray for not breaking a sweat like he’d done during his on-field rehab. Murray, recovering from ankle surgery, is out of the walking boot but has not taken part in on-field drills in front of the media.
Teddy Bridgewater at today’s OTA. Rehabbed on the side, went through position drills, threw to uncovered WRs in red zone, back to rehab. pic.twitter.com/zUGcZvplC0
— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) May 31, 2017
“He’s just got a great mindset toward his rehab,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said of Bridgewater. “And you can tell because he’s getting better everyday.”
Bridgewater has not been cleared to practice, but he jumped into some positional drills with fellow quarterbacks at the goal line. He tossed a few undefended passes before getting back to his rehab drills when Vikings players convened for team offense sessions.
“When you’ve seen a guy working his rear end off, it just makes you proud for him for the work that he’s put in,” head coach Mike Zimmer said via conference call last week. “He’s progressing as well as anybody could have expected, I think.”
Some other observations from OTA No. 5, the second open to reporters:
The offensive line configuration featured Nick Easton at center with third-round pick Pat Elflein working with the second-team offense. Veteran Joe Berger remained at right guard with Jeremiah Sirles spelling Alex Boone at left guard for a few plays throughout practice. Remember T.J. Clemmings? After 30 starts at tackle in his two seasons, the Vikings had Clemmings working at right guard throughout Wednesday’s practice.
Jarius Wright was spotted back with the starters as Adam Thielen had a sleeve over his left leg and was not practicing. Wright joined Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell in the three-receiver offense. Newly-signed Michael Floyd is still with the reserves during just his second week with the Vikings. Diggs caught a pair of deep passes from Sam Bradford with one over Trae Waynes and Harrison Smith and another against Terence Newman.
Danielle Hunter is a fixture in the starting lineup through two OTAs open to the media. Veteran defensive end Brian Robison has been coming off the sideline for the Vikings’ pass-rush line, spelling Linval Joseph, and has worked with the second-team defense at end. Hunter has 18.5 sacks in two seasons, which includes only one start.
Rookie receiver Rodney Adams got some work as a punt returner with both Thielen and fellow rookie Stacy Coley unable to practice Wednesday. Adams figures to be the leading candidate for the kick returner job vacated by Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Veteran punt returner Marcus Sherels shouldn’t need many reps in May, so Adams got some work done.
Latavius Murray had his walking boot removed, but he was still unable to practice Wednesday. Undrafted linebacker Shaan Washington (Texas A&M) was spotted in a walking boot before leaving the practice field after warmups. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Antone Exum Jr. were not seen at practice. Exum was spotted in the parking lot with crutches and a bulky brace on his right knee.