Second-year Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was given freedom to manage the offense based on what he saw at the line of scrimmage during Week 1.
The Vikings’ 20-3 loss in San Francisco on Monday would seem to indicate his play-calling and protection adjustments weren’t as effective as the coaching staff would have liked. But that didn’t keep coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner from re-emphasizing the trust they have in Bridgewater leading to Sunday’s home opener.
“We have a system where we can give him free rein, we have a system where we can control it, we have a system where plays are locked in,” Turner said. “We have a complete system.”
With Joe Berger starting at center for injured John Sullivan, more responsibility lies on Bridgewater to make the proper adjustments to protect himself.
“Teddy has the right to override them at any time, and he’s in charge of protections and making sure it’s all done right,” Zimmer said, “but Berger is a Michigan Tech guy, so he’s pretty smart.”
The players also emphasized confidence in their young quarterback. Receiver Charles Johnson, who caught two passes for 27 yards from Bridgewater on Monday, said it’s second nature for everyone to adjust on the fly.
“Every great quarterback in this league knows the playbook inside and out, and based on what he sees from the defense he should be able to change to any play that he wants,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re trying to work through to get us where we’re all on the same page, so when Teddy does make a check on what he sees that he’s able to get us on the right [page].”
Mike Harris said the linemen spent extra time in meetings this week working on communication. Harris started his first game at guard in Monday’s loss and felt good about the transition, though he expects more of himself.
“I thought I played well. I was very confident out there. But unfortunately, as an O-line, as a group, we didn’t perform well,” Harris said. “Can’t have Teddy taking that many hits. We’ve got to get the ball running much better and got to be able to score points for the team, and that starts up front.”
Advice from Bill
Every coach in the league talks about the “24-hour” rule when it comes to moving on from the previous game, good or especially bad.
The Vikings had a particularly bad one.
Zimmer was asked Friday who, in his long career, was best at executing the “24-hour” rule.
“Probably when I was with the Cowboys,” said Zimmer, who was in Dallas from 1994 to 2006. “That’s when it started. You got 24 hours and then it’s said and done. Move on.
“When I was with [Cowboys Hall of Fame coach Bill] Parcells, he had you thinking about the next week pretty quickly. He was good at it. He was good at a lot of things. He called me this week, matter of fact, and we talked for a little bit. He’s always got some really good sayings and quotations for me. ”
The Vikings should enter Sunday’s home opener with everyone on the active roster healthy. Running back Jerick McKinnon (ankle) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) were listed as full participants in Friday’s practice and probable for Sunday’s game.
The Lions, however, could be without four players. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (hip) is out, linebacker Jerick McKinnon (hip) is doubtful, and defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (shoulder) and Caraun Reid (ankle) are questionable.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford (right upper arm), cornerback Darius Slay (ankle), receiver Golden Tate (quad), tackle LaAdrian Waddle (elbow) and guard Larry Warford (ankle) are all listed as probable.
• The Vikings waived tackle Tyrus Thompson, a 2015 sixth-round pick, from the injured reserve list.