LANDOVER, MD. – Teddy Bridgewater had every intention of keeping his composure as the national anthem played at FedEx Field on Sunday. But as the quarterback reflected on everything he’d been through over the past 14 months, he couldn’t hold back the tears.
“Man, I was trying to keep it together,” Bridgewater said. “It’s just, opportunities like these don’t come around twice. So when you get that second opportunity, you cherish it. You hold it, and you never want to let it go. Today, it got the best of me.”
Bridgewater didn’t see the field in his first game back on the active roster since he dislocated his left knee and tore multiple ligaments on Aug. 30, 2016. He remained on the sideline as Case Keenum’s backup during the Vikings’ 38-30 win over the Washington Redskins. That was enough, though, to make Sunday a day that Bridgewater would not soon forget.
“I kind of screamed a little on the sideline, after I said my prayer in the end zone,” Bridgewater said. “When I got on the sideline, I was like, ‘Wow — it’s really about to happen.’ Today was a great moment for my life, my personal life, but it was an even better moment for this team. We got out there, we competed, and we won a game we needed to win on the road.”
His career seemed in peril following the injury, which saw Bridgewater rushed to a trauma center as doctors worked to save his left leg. His tenuous situation led the Vikings to decline his fifth-year option before the season, and Bridgewater started the year on the physically-unable-to-perform list, as the Vikings planned for Sam Bradford to be their starting quarterback.
Bridgewater said it’s “very important” for him to play this season but added, “I have to approach each day with the mind-set that, hey, I’m going to get better.
“If I play, I play. I’m going to give it my all. I won’t hold anything back. But right now, I’m going to be cherishing this moment. It’s about the Vikings winning in Washington against a good team.”
Griffen out with foot injury
Coach Mike Zimmer said this week he expected defensive end Everson Griffen to play on Sunday, two weeks after Griffen injured his foot on the final play of the team’s win over the Browns. And when Griffen went through his pregame warmup, it appeared he was set to take the field against the Redskins.
In the end, though, the Vikings decided to keep the defensive end out of the game, to give his foot a chance to heal before a critical home game next Sunday against the Rams.
“He just couldn’t push off at full speed,” Zimmer said. “The smart, prudent thing to do was not to play him because we didn’t want to lose him for more than one week.”
Diggs earns a talking-to
After his 3-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, wide receiver Stefon Diggs spread his arms like airplane wings, pantomimed a flight toward the goalpost and wrapped his arms and legs around it as he leaped into the “Salute to Service” padding around its base.
That celebration earned Diggs a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, putting the Redskins in solid field position as they started what turned out to be a touchdown drive. It also meant Diggs would get a piece of Zimmer’s mind.
“I was thinking of a way to kind of ‘Salute to Service.’ I saw the bag, I jumped on it — poorly executed, but hopefully I got the message across: big hug,” Diggs said. “It’s something that won’t happen again. I won’t be giving out any more free hugs. They’ll have to pay for it next time.”
The Maryland native had 13 catches for 164 yards in his first game back in his home state a year ago. On Sunday, he finished with four catches for 78 yards.
“When I come home, it’s my family,” he said. “It feels good.”