The Vikings just took the field at Winter Park for their second organized team activity workout of the week. But quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and head coach Mike Zimmer were nowhere to be found.
We knew Zimmer would not be there, as he is about 800 miles away in Kentucky, where he is resting following his latest surgery.
But it was a little surprising not to see Bridgewater here a day after the team released video trumpeting his return to the practice field.
The reason for Bridgewater’s absence, according to G.M. Rick Spielman, was that he had a scheduled appointment with his doctor.
Still, Spielman said it was “very encouraging” to see Bridgewater, who has been throwing to receivers here for at least a few weeks, take the next step by tossing passes at an official organized practice, though he stressed that Bridgewater is still not technically practicing with the team.
“Part of the rehab process you saw yesterday was that he is able to drop back and throw the ball,” Spielman said. “He is not cleared for practice, so I want to make that perfectly clear. But he’s working extremely hard in his rehab and we’ll continue to monitor his progress.”
Spielman, as he has done all offseason, declined to share whether the 24-year-old is ahead of schedule in his recovery, only saying, “He’s very limited in what he’s able to do at this point, but it’s progress.” He would not say if Bridgewater might be cleared by the start of training camp, which kicks off a couple of months from now.
As for Zimmer’s timetable to return to practice, Spielman said the 60-year-old coach, who had an eighth surgery on his troublesome right eye last Wednesday, will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks. He said the Vikings are “very excited” about how this latest surgery went.
“He does need to rest and recover,” he said. “The best thing about it is he’s 12 hours away so I know he can’t drive back to the office every day.”
I asked Spielman whether this was Zimmer’s or the team’s decision for the coach to step away from football for at least a couple of weeks.
“I would just say Coach Zimmer is very hard-headed in a lot of things,” Spielman said with a smile and a quick chuckle. “And sometimes, just like with these players, you have to make sure your health comes first.”