Zimmer’s defense testing Bridgewater

Mike Zimmer has stepped up the challenge with rookie Teddy Bridgewater, throwing different defensive looks in front of him.

Friday wasn’t the best day of practice for the Vikings. In fact, all things considered , it may have been one of the worst. Both the offense and defense looked inconsistent and weren’t smooth coming off what Zimmer had described as the best practice of training camp the day before.

But Zimmer took questions from the local media – a wide-ranging lot that covered several different topics. Among them was a hint that Teddy Bridgewater may not necessarily be relegated to backup duty when the regular season begins.

Discussing the struggles of the Vikings offense Friday, Zimmer said he threw looks at Bridgewater that he hadn’t seen. In the course of the discussion, he opened the door to the chance that, if Bridgewater shows the Vikings the “it factor” they believe he possesses, he may get that opportunity.

“We’ve got to keep working and getting this stuff right,” Zimmer said. “We gave them a lot of different looks on defense today. That’s part of the evaluation. It’s not line up and give them the same look every time and they know where they going before the ball (is snapped). It’s great for a young quarterback like this to be able to see some of the things we do on defense because that’s what people are going to do to him – early anyway if he’s the guy.”

While not a ringing endorsement, especially given his performance on Friday, Zimmer gave Bridgewater something he had never seen before. It may not have been as important in the long run how he performed at training camp on Friday. It’s how he reacts the second time he sees things he saw for the first time on Friday.< br>
In other answers to the scatter-gun questioning Friday, Zimmer responded to the following topics:

  • On how rookie Anthony Barr is handling the additional workload of playing different positions during practices: “Good. His alignments are just a tiny little bit off, so he’s got to fix that. He’s got good power when he punches. He did a couple nice things (today). He’s blitzing well. He’s still got to learn some of the rush things in the league. But, for the most part, he’s advancing as good as expected.”

  • On how strong a feeling he has that Barr will be a starter in Week 1: “Strong. I would have said that after the first minicamp.”

  • On safety Andrew Sendejo, who has been sidelined with back problems since spring OTAs: “I have talked to (trainer Eric Sugarman) about how he worked out today, but that’s still the plan. I don’t know. Haven’t seen him this spring or summer. All I’ve seen him do is walk around the building and be in the training room. I think he can still make an impression, but he’s got to get into some of these games to do it.”

  • On whether Saturday’s evening practice, because it will be more attended than a typical practice, will mean more: “No, not really. It’s still part of the evaluation process. It’s really good to get them in different environments – get them under the lights, the other day it rained. Just to see guys, how they react in different kinds of environments, that helps as part of the evaluation.”

  • On tight end AC Leonard, who left practice Thursday with a headache and didn’t practice Saturday: “He’s getting some tests done. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s a concussion. He had a headache, but they don’t think it was a concussion. So I don’t know.”

    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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