Breathe easier, Vikings fans. Teddy Bridgewater threw a pass in practice Tuesday. His right arm still works.
He didn't throw a lot of passes and none deep. Limited would be the best way to describe his workload.
Bridgewater primarily attempted short to intermediate throws. Screens, slants and passes over the middle. Enter your own punch line about business as usual.
His longest throw traveled about 15 yards past the line of scrimmage … and right into the arms of safety Harrison Smith for an interception.
At least Bridgewater's right shoulder felt strong enough to throw passes, a source of growing concern since last week when he was a surprise scratch in the second preseason game at Seattle.
Bridgewater's absence that night followed by two practices in which he didn't attempt a single pass meant one of two things: He either had an arm issue, or Mike Zimmer was switching to the Wishbone offense.
ESPN reported Bridgewater has a sore shoulder. Zimmer declined to confirm that again Tuesday while explaining the way he's handled this mini-drama the past six days.
"I told you guys when I first got here I would try and be as transparent and honest as I can, and I will be," he said. "But there are certain things I'm not going to tell you. If he had an issue with his shoulder, then I'm going to make sure that I err on the side of caution. Because if I played him and he got hurt, you guys would be killing me in the press."
Zimmer emphasized the word "if" when discussing Bridgewater's shoulder, indicating it was a hypothetical answer, not confirmation. His rationale on the other part was confusing.
Nobody advocated for Zimmer to play someone that is injured. No one even knew Bridgewater was dealing with an arm issue before the Seattle game.
Reporters merely asked why Bridgewater didn't play and Zimmer's vague nonanswers opened the door to speculation. Alarm bells started ringing when Bridgewater basically didn't practice Saturday or Sunday and then Zimmer moved up the players' off day to Monday.
"I'm always going to protect the players," Zimmer said. "I'm going to do what I think is best for the organization, and you're going to have to respect that."
This whole Bridgewater thing became a little weird. We categorize it as a thing because Zimmer has made it clear he enjoys injury talk in the preseason as much as wisdom teeth extraction.
Zimmer isn't obligated to discuss injuries right now — no NFL coach is until the opening week — and in most cases, that silence doesn't matter. Teams aren't preparing for real games so if a player is sidelined for a few days, even longer, breathless speculation isn't necessarily warranted.
The starting quarterback on a team with Super Bowl aspirations falls under a different category.
A segment of fans celebrated Zimmer for sticking it to pesky reporters for having the audacity to inquire about the status of the starting quarterback. They loved his message and wanted to shoot the messenger. That comes with the territory.
Zimmer doesn't owe anyone a specific, detailed explanation, but that doesn't mean people can't be curious.
When a starting quarterback mysteriously doesn't start a game and then spends two practices working strictly on handoffs, questions are going to be asked about it. And more than once.
That's not being intrusive or out of line. That's called Journalism 101.
In the NFL, everything is a big deal, especially when it involves quarterbacks. Bridgewater's absence caused additional anxiety because the Vikings backup situation doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
The uneasiness that has surfaced the past week is the result of expectations. Fans have high hopes for this season. They believe in the team's potential. And Bridgewater's development is integral to establishing whether the Vikings can build on last season's division title.
So, yeah, reports of his shoulder soreness coupled with Zimmer's mum's-the-word stance created a layer tension over something that could prove to be relatively minor.
The severity of Bridgewater's shoulder issue still remains a mystery. Concern will grow if he misses Sunday's third preseason game, though Zimmer said there's no extra urgency for Bridgewater to get preseason experience.
"He's played an awful lot of games," Zimmer said. "It's not like he's a first-year rookie. We're going to continue to do what we think is best."
In other words, this story might not be over yet.