Bridgewater getting marketing exposure

Teddy Bridgewater was the final pick of the first round, but he will be meeting some influential marketers for brands over the weekend.

The Teddy Bridgewater publicity machine is picking up steam, as the NFL Players Association is helping facilitate the process of getting rookies involved with potential sponsors and help players create their own brand in the endorsement market at part of the NFL's Rookie Premiere program.

Scheduled to meet May 29-31 in Los Angeles, the NFL Rookie Premiere is celebrating its 20th year of bringing corporate leaders and NFL players together, including partnerships with Nike, Pepsi, EA Sports, USA TODAY Sports, Panini, Topps and Bose.

The highlight of the three-day event is typically the rookies posing for photos wearing their official Nike team uniforms for trading cards. The photo shoot will take place at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Among the guest speakers are current and former NFL players Marshall Faulk, Jamaal Charles, Daunte Culpepper, Willie McGinest, Torry Holt, Brandon Williams, Kevin Bentley, Israel Idonije and Austin Pettis.

The selection process of the 35 players selected to attend is based largely in what is viewed by the trading card companies as the most marketable players, which is why Bridgewater, a quarterback taken with the 32nd pick in the draft, is attending and not Anthony Barr, selected at No. 9.

Among the players in attendance will be quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Marqise Less and linebacker Kahlil Mack.

Players are excused from team activities to attend the event, which can often become a gateway for players to market and co-brand themselves with some of the NFL's most lucrative sponsors. Bridgewater is viewed as one of the those players sponsors want to meet and greet and potentially combine to start a business relationship.

While the Vikings have yet to commit to Bridgewater as being their starting quarterback, it would seem clear that the sponsor groups that look to sign young players to contracts to promote their brands have an interest in Bridgewater and are considering him as a starter for their promotions.

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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