Teddy Bridgewater insists there is ‘no doubt’ he’ll play in next Vikings game
Step off the ledge, Minnesota Vikings fans. Sure, your favorite NFL football team had to take a quick detour off the speedy Teddy Bridgewater Expressway — unfortunately in an nationally televised game against the rival Green Bay Packers — and were forced to painfully navigate the pothole-riddled Christian Ponder Parkway. But according to the dynamic rookie quarterback, there is “no doubt” that he’ll be under center when the Vikings face the Detroit Lions in a week from Sunday.
Ponder, as has been a trademark in a short-circuited NFL career, was particularly abysmal in Minnesota’s 42-10 whupping at Lambeau Field. Overthrowing receivers or under-throwing them, or even worse, throwing it directly to the opponent — and that’s when he actually set his feet to throw and wasn’t in a seemingly perpetual state of unhinged state of pocket panic — Ponder proved to be exactly what he’s always been: Unsuited to be an NFL quarterback, despite being a high — albeit risky and in retrospect, an ill-fated — first-round draft pick.
Despite the Vikings coaching staff’s protestations heading into Thursday that Ponder could capably fill in, he didn’t Not even close. Ponder went 22-44 for 222 yards with two interceptions — one returned for a pick-six — bad enough for a terrible quarterback rating of 45.8.
While saying that Bridgewater simply “wasn’t ready to play,” head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t pull any punches when asked how he thought Ponder performed.
“Not very well,” the dejected first-year coach lamented.
But brighter days are ahead, as it will be two full weeks that Bridgewater has been able to rest and rehab his bum ankle before taking the field against the Lions.
Had the Vikings been playing on Sunday, Bridgewater says he would have been able to play.
“I could say that,” he said. “It would have allowed me to have more days to rehab and treat the injury. Unfortunately, we played on Thursday.”
But the rookie signal-caller understood that the coaching staff were exercising a reasonable level of caution when deciding to sit him.
“It was a decision that Coach made,” Bridgewater said. “It was best for the team. He felt it was best for me also.”
After a brutal opening stretch of the season that saw the Vikings face some of the NFL’s top-tier teams — along with a murderer’s row of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks — the schedule opens up a bit from this point forward, with four seemingly winnable games in the next five.
The best part? Teddy Bridgewater conceivably will be leading the team in those games.
And if Vikings fans need to find a silver lining to Thursday night’s disastrous debacle of a football game? It very well could be the last time Christian Ponder steps on the field as a Minnesota Viking.
See? Every bad situation can have a positive. You just need to know where to look for it.
(image credit: Tom Lynn/AP)