Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater talks about patience, growth and the prospect of playing again
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Teddy Bridgewater is embracing his new role as backup quarterback and No. 1 cheerleader for Vikings starter Case Keenum.
Patience and persistence were Bridgewater's companions while successfully rehabilitating from the devastating knee injury he suffered in August 2016, and they are guiding him since being activated to the roster for Sunday's 38-30 victory at Washington.
Bridgewater is content being back on the sideline and too busy enjoying the Vikings' success with a 7-2 record and two-game lead in the NFC North Division to fret about if and when he might play again for Minnesota.
"I don't want this to be about me. It's about us," he told reporters Thursday, Nov. 16. "We're sitting in a good position right now, pushing for the playoffs, hopefully home-field advantage. You can't take the attention away from that."
Being a stand-up guy has made Bridgewater universally loved by teammates, who watched him cry tears of joy at FedEx Field moments before kickoff and are rooting hard for him to complete the comeback.
"It was definitely a special moment," said wide receiver Stefon Diggs. "You know everybody's relationship with Teddy and this story. To see him out there, he's definitely a walking inspiration."
Bridgewater expanded upon his current team role, adjusting to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's offense and the emotions that overwhelmed him before the game against the Redskins during a rare media session in the Vikings locker room Thursday.
On whether there was any frustration about being activated as late as he was:
"I'm just continuing to be a great teammate, motivating the guys. We're playing great football right now. What else could you ask for?"
On what it's like to be a backup for the first time since his rookie season in 2014:
"For me, I feel like when I'm out there, I'm taking mental reps, sharpening my game from a mental standpoint. We're playing good football in all three phases. It's about being patient, continuing to trust the process and standing behind whoever's in there."
On whether he feels like he has to play this season:
"Whatever happens, happens. It's all a part of God's plan."
On helping starting quarterback Case Keenum:
"Whoever's in there, our goal is to push each other. When Case is in there, I'm going to do everything I can to push him, whether it's being a second pair of eyes for him on the sidelines, the film room or the practice field. That's what I want to do because at the end of the day, it's about making this team better. If we're having solid play from the quarterback position, then obviously the team's doing something well."
On Keenum's performance this season:
"Case has done a great job. He's competing. He's doing everything the coaching staff is asking of him, and I couldn't be any happier for him."
On the differences between Pat Shurmur's offense compared to that of former coordinator Norv Turner:
"It's different. It's a different scheme. But it's still just about letting your playmakers make plays. Pat always says it's not the plays, it's the players. We've got a good group of guys who are doing everything the coaching staff is asking of them, and it's showing. Those guys are flying around, making plays. It's exciting being on the sideline watching those guys play at a high level."
On how productive and aggressive this offense has become since he last played:
"It's very exciting, but I know whoever's in there, our job is to execute the game plan. So, it's exciting to know that one day I could be in there running those plays. But for now, I'm excited watching Case light up the scoreboard. Four touchdowns last week, that's very impressive, especially on the road. So, I'm excited to be a part of this offense and excited to be a part of this quarterback room."
On putting on a uniform again at Washington:
"It was a great feeling, just thinking about how all that could end at one point. Usually when you have a dream, you wake up and you go back to sleep. You can't pick up where that dream left off. It's hard sometimes, but I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pick up right where my dream left off. Putting on those cleats, putting on those pads for the first time in a while was a great feeling and I'm just happy."
On the emotion he showed on the bench:
"Yeah, I was trying to keep it all together. I'm usually good at controlling my emotions. It's just been a long process. To see that light at the end of the tunnel, it just gives you chills and makes you appreciate just trying to run out of that tunnel and stand on the sideline with your guys."
On whether he feels different physically:
"No, if anything I feel stronger. More stable, things like that."
On how he's grown the most since returning to practice:
"I just think my mindset with each play, identifying small details within each play, whether it is a matchup, mechanics, things like that — just sharpening up my game mentally and identifying different matchups and things like that."
On whether taking it slow has been good for him:
"Definitely. Whatever the plan is, I'm all for it ... whether it's me getting out there right away and that's part of the plan, or taking it slow. The good thing about taking it slow is I get to sharpen my game even more — on the practice field, on the sideline. Like I said, during games I get to take those mental reps so that if Case doesn't see something, he can come to the sideline and I can be that second pair of eyes for him. It's great. I'm just going to continue to trust the process."
The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.