Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said the devastating knee injury that threatens his availability for the start of the 2017 season actually has helped him “spiritually and mentally” and that he considers it “a new challenge, and I love challenges.”

Bridgewater made those statements in a release issued by the team after teammates selected Bridgewater as the Vikings’ 2016 Ed Block Courage Award winner.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” Bridgewater said in statement released by the team. “Especially as my teammates made the selection. 2016 has been amazing for me. Everyone looks at an injury as a negative. It has helped me spiritually and mentally even with me already being an extremely positive person.

"My injury was a new challenge and I love challenges. With the help of many people we have attacked this challenge head on and expect great success in the future. A special thanks to the Vikings training staff and all those that support me along my journey.”

Since 1984, the Ed Block Courage Award has honored one player from every NFL team who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Recipients are recognized for both on and off the field extra efforts and their ability to overcome great adversity, whether it be personal or professional.

Bridgewater suffered a season-ending knee injury 12 days before the season opener. The injury, which came during a non-contact drill in practice, was so severe that Bridgewater’s status for the 2017 season opener is uncertain.

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