(Eden Praire, MN) — Look around the NFL long enough and you will
realize the Minnesota Vikings have a good problem on their hands at
On the one hand, they are 7-2 and riding a five-game winning streak
with career journeyman Case Keenum playing all but six quarters in
place of injured Sam Bradford.
On the other hand, Teddy Bridgewater is healthy and raring to go as
the hardest part of the schedule continues with the Rams at home on
Sunday followed by three straight road games at Detroit, Atlanta
On Monday, head coach Mike Zimmer said he has decided who will
start on Sunday. Naturally, he’s keeping that out of the public eye
after addressing the full team on the subject the morning after a
38-30 win at Washington.
“I have a plan,” he said again on Monday.
Bridgewater hasn’t played since tearing multiple ligaments while
dislocating his left knee in a non-contact injury in practice a
week before the 2016 season. He also has had only three weeks of
practice, but was deemed ready to serve as Keenum’s backup on
So it would make sense to stick with Keenum, right? Well …
Keenum had a strange enough game Sunday to create some doubt. When
the Vikings led 35-17 early in the third quarter, he had a perfect
passer rating, four touchdowns and no turnovers.
Then he threw careless interceptions on consecutive throws to put
the Redskins back in the game.
“I talked to him a little bit this morning about understanding the
situation of the game, where we’re at and sometimes a throwaway is
a good thing,” Zimmer said. “You know, the two turnovers were bad.
They were back-to-back. We’ve got the game pretty much in hand. The
rest of the game, he played pretty darn good.
“But he’s a very excitable guy. Sometimes he gets off the
reservation a little bit.”
Ultimately, the Vikings want to return to Bridgewater at some
point. The 2014 first-round draft pick was primed for a breakout
season as the team’s quarterback of the future when he was injured.
But Zimmer also has to be careful not to disrupt the momentum that
has the Vikings sitting in the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
Again, look around the league. When your third-best quarterback is
5-2 as the starter and your former and possibly future franchise QB
is healthy enough to return, this is a good problem to have.
–Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said he tried to hold back the
tears. But as the national anthem played, he simply couldn’t do it.
Bridgewater started thinking about the last 14 months and how far
he has come since that horrific knee injury during a non-contact
practice drill. He looked down and saw himself back in uniform and,
well, the tears began to flow.
“I was trying to keep it together,” Bridgewater said. “It’s just,
opportunities like these don’t come around twice. So when you get
that second opportunity, you cherish it. You hold it, and you never
want to let it go. Today, it got the best of me.”
Bridgewater didn’t play. He served as backup to Case Keenum.
“If I play, I play,” Bridgewater said. “I’m going to give it my
all. I won’t hold anything back. But right now, I’m going to be
cherishing this moment. It’s about the Vikings winning in
Washington against a good team.”