PHOENIX — Although it doesn’t appear he's close to areturn to football, Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is making strides in his recovery from a dislocated knee that sidelined him for the entire 2016 season.
Vikingscoach Mike Zimmer said Bridgewater has started running in a pool and performing other non-weight barring exercises as part of his ongoing rehabilitation from a major injury suffered last Augustduring practice.
For example, a video of Bridgewater throwing a football appeared on the QB'sInstagram account Tuesday.
"The big thing for Teddy is that he’s got to keep progressing with where he’s going,” Zimmer told co-host Tom Pelisseroand me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s doing a great job in the rehab. These (trainers) will get him back and ready to go.
"I honestly don’t know when. No one really knows. He had a great doctor do (the surgery) and he’s done phenomenal work. We’re anticipating getting him back at some point."
At least the Vikings are protected at the position after the trade to acquire Sam Bradford from Philadelphia following Bridgewater’s injury.
Bradford enjoyed a tumultuous first season in Minnesota. He set an NFL record for completion percentage at 71.6 and threw 20 touchdown passes with just five interceptions.
Zimmer, though, said the aerial attack lacked the kind of “explosive plays” he wants to see more of as the Vikings went on a 2-8 stretch following a 5-0 start.
At least Bradford should have more stability around him. He was forced to take a crash-course learning Minnesota’s offensive system, then needed to make further adjustments when coordinator Norv Turner quit mid-season and was replaced by assistant Pat Shurmur.
The Vikings also fielded a porous offensive line and the NFL’s lowest-ranked running game with Adrian Peterson sidelined for almost theseason with a knee injury. Minnesota worked to address those areas in the offseason by signing two tackles —Riley Reiff (Detroit) and Mike Remmers (Carolina) —and running back Latavius Murray (Oakland) in free agency.
"When a new guy comes into your system, I always believe he’s better in his second year because he’s more comfortable around the players,"Zimmer said. “With him coming in so late, he didn’t have even as much time as a normal free agent.
"I knew he could throw the ball and all those things. But I didn’t know how tough he was. He took some incredible shots and got back up. He wants to win extremely badly. I’ve had numerous conversations after losses with him. I anticipate him having a good year."
The Vikings have to hope Bridgewater can enjoy the same, even if it means only serving as Bradford’s backup this season.