Teddy Bridgewater took a while to find his footing as a rookie, but with a strong finish he established himself as the most promising rookie signal-caller in his class.
Bridgewater turned in the third-most accurate season ever for a rookie quarterback with a 64.4 completion percentage. He finished with a positive turnover differential and a respectable 85.2 passer rating. And the Vikings went 6-6 in his starts.
So what is the 22-year-old quarterback going to do this season?
His teammates and coaches expect him to take another leap forward.
“He’s a great player, and he’s going to be that much better than he was last year as a rookie,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “But it’s the things that Teddy does in the locker room, around the facility, in the weight room that people don’t really see that makes me notice that he’s really comfortable in that role.”
When Bridgewater first set foot on the practice field this spring, it was obvious how much more in command than he was as a rookie, when he had to take a back seat to short-term starter Matt Cassel until getting the job in Week 4.
The Vikings also wanted him to bulk up a bit in the offseason for durability purposes. Bridgewater won’t be competing in the Mr. Universe competition any time soon, but coach Mike Zimmer did notice his quarterback is a little bigger.
Bridgewater’s brain is perhaps his biggest asset, though. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said “he has no limits in terms of being able to learn and pick things up.”
Turner’s playbook is pretty heavy, but quarterbacks Troy Aikman, Philip Rivers and Kerry Collins made jumps statistically in their second seasons in Turner’s offense. Will Teddy, too?
“I have more of a feel for what the coaches are trying to do here, as far as game plan-wise,” Bridgewater said. “Last year I was kind of learning my way around game plans and getting a feel for coaches Norv and Scott Turner and what they’re asking of us. …
“Having an understanding of the coordinator, I think I’m that far ahead this year.”