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Tuesday was a rough day for the Minnesota Vikings. Their 24-year-old starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season in devastating fashion. According to witnesses to the incident, the injury was gruesome. The damage was so bad that teammates were said to be throwing up. They had to bring an ambulance onto the field to remove the writhing QB. The diagnosis for Bridgewater is a completely torn ACL and a dislocated knee.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was rolling out to pass during team drills at Winter Park Tuesday afternoon and went down without contact on the field … Bridgewater went down and athletic trainers were looking at his left knee. A cart came onto the field as trainers looked at him and an ambulance arrived at Winter Park within minutes. Practice was immediately cancelled and several players left the field in anger, throwing their helmets to the ground and cursing. Teammate Adrian Peterson led a circle of players praying around Bridgewater.
Shaun Hill is the next man up in Minnesota.
While Bridgewater wasn’t exactly striking fear into the heart of opposing defenses with his 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns, the hope was he would take that next step in 2016 and lead this talented young team deep into the playoffs. Unfortunately, his progress has been completely derailed. He is expected to make a full recovery. However, his status for 2017 is now in question. That’s a huge blow for the NFC North champions.
Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said there was additional structural damage on top of the torn ACL and dislocated knee, but did sound upbeat in regards to Bridgewater’s long-term future.
"Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage. Surgical repair will be scheduled within the next few days,” Sugarman said. “Although the recovery time will be significant, we expect Teddy to make a full recovery. I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and our athletic training staff for all of their help today. Teddy has already displayed the attitude needed to overcome this injury and attack his rehab.”
This is a demoralizing loss for the Vikes in real life. However, it may not hurt their Fantasy options all that much. Let's face it, Bridgewater didn’t exactly light it up last season, and we can’t assume he was all of a sudden going to be a Fantasy stud or even a serviceable Fantasy option. The Vikings threw the ball less than any team in the league last season, and as I mentioned before, his numbers were anemic at best. I doubt his wide receivers will miss him all that much from a statistical standpoint.
Adrian Peterson and the RB corps will likely be the biggest beneficiaries of the injury. If it’s possible AP may see even more carries than expected this season. After carrying the ball 327 times last year, he could see more touches in 2016. He should stay put as the RB4 where he’s at based on our SCOUT Fantasy Rankings. Backups Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata may see more work as well simply because Peterson can only carry the ball so many times. I expect they run the ball even more, but he already averaged more than 20 carries a game last season. How much can that increase?
Hill will make a lot more mistakes than Bridgewater and take more risks. With that said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for his Fantasy pass-catchers. Hill getting picked off doesn’t impact your Fantasy team and may even force them to throw more if they fall behind. There is a decent chance Hill’s yards and TD totals will end up slightly more prolific than Bridgewater’s would have. Assuming Hill plays all 16 games, it would be shocking if he can’t top 3,200 yards and 14 TDs. Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, Laquon Treadwell and the rest of the crew shouldn’t lose much Fantasy value from this injury. Currently, Diggs is ranked as the WR47, Treadwell the WR49 and Johnson the WR76. None of them should move more than two or three slots tops.
In the end, this is terrible news for the Vikings and very disappointing for a young quarterback looking to improve during his third NFL season. Nevertheless, Fantasy owners shouldn’t overreact to this turn of events. We know they will, they always do. Overreacting plagues Fantasy owners and the best avoid this trend. We see it all the time though. The fact remains Bridgewater isn’t Drew Brees just like James White has suddenly become a sixth-round caliber back and Markus Wheaton was never as good as Martavis Bryant.
We can project what we thought Bridgewater would or wouldn’t have done this year, but it’s irrelevant at this point. Hill can’t be all that less productive than Bridgewater was last season. As a matter of fact, I would expect him to put up at least 3,600 yards and 18 TDs, which is close to what I expected from Bridgewater. That’s not exactly lighting the world on fire of course. Still, it’s an improvement from last season. Stay the course with your game plan. The only owners that should change their plans are those who were targeting Bridgewater as a sleeper backup quarterback.