(Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)
Talk of Fame Network
Now that Adrian Peterson is back and presumably happy with the Minnesota Vikings, the focus shifts to the impact he and an improved running game can have on second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
A year ago, Bridgewater became the team’s starter by the fourth weekend and played well enough (he was 6-6) to be the starting quarterback on the NFL All-Rookie team. Better yet, he played well enough to convince fans that maybe, just maybe, the Vikings have a key piece of the foundation for their next success.
But that was a year ago. Now, Bridgewater not only has the experience of starting but gains the experience of going through a second year of OTAs, mini-camps and training camp — and that, coach Mike Zimmer said, could make the Vikings a playoff contender again.
“Teddy improved an awful lot throughout the course of last year,” Zimmer said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “Just the verbiage, making the play calls, the communication with the offensive line, the communication with the receivers … He improved a great deal.
“And it’s really a credit to Teddy … the way he works, the way he studies (and) how good he wants to be. He’s an unbelievable person. He’s first-class all the way. You never know where that’s going to go, honestly, but we’re hoping he continues to improve the way he did at the end of the year. If that happens, then we have a chance to be a pretty good football team.
“Like all teams, you’re going to have to help him. You’re going to have play pretty good on defense, you’re going to have to run the ball well and protect better – definitely we’ve got to protect better with the offensive line. But he’s added a level of confidence to this organization that hasn’t been here for awhile.”
So has offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who knows how to build young quarterbacks. He did it with Troy Aikman in Dallas. He did it with Alex Smith in Turner’s one year in San Francisco. He did it with Philip Rivers in San Diego. And he’s doing it with Bridgewater.
“Norv is very similar to me,” said Zimmer. “He’s very hands-on with everything that he does. He’s such an unbelievably great offensive coach. He’s great for me as well, having in the building for me to ask him questions. He did an unbelievable job with Teddy, and Teddy takes coaching so well.
“We talked in the offseason about working out with someone else, some of these quarterbacks coaches, and Teddy said, ‘You know, I’m working with Norv and Scott (Turner, Norv’s son and the Vikings’ quarterbacks coach). These guys are my guys. These are guys who are helping me every day. I don’t want to go somewhere else and learn some other things.’ Honestly, I was so fortunate to get Norv. I can’t even explain how happy I was when he decided to come here.”