Turner details QB competition, interceptions

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner talked about the quarterback statistics to this point and detailed the interceptions thrown by Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel as they approach the first preseason game.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback battle between veteran Matt Cassel and rookie Teddy Bridgewater is even, if based on throwing interceptions in training camp.

Bridgewater went almost a week into training camp before he started throwing interceptions and he now has three interceptions in more than 150 throws in competitive situations, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Cassel has the same count.

“One of them for each guy was a bad quarterback decision. One of them for each guy was a receiver either fell down or ran a poor route. And one of them I thought was a great play,” Turner said. “If you throw three interceptions in 150 attempts, you’re playing at a high level.”

The Vikings have three practices in pads this week, through Wednesday, before Bridgewater and Cassel will see action in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium. The starter hasn’t been named yet, but head coach Mike Zimmer indicated the starters could see more than one series. Turner said the starters were told Monday night that they will play until Zimmer is satisfied.

Count Turner as satisfied with Bridgewater’s play so far in training camp.

“We are doing a lot of things. There are things we’re doing with Teddy that we would never call in the game. We’re trying to find out where he’s at in terms of what he can do,” Turner said. “I think he’s playing at an awfully high level. Those two guys in competitive situations, they’ve both had over 150 passes, each of them. That’s 300. That’s over half a season.”

Turner admitted that the quarterback statistics could be slightly skewed because the quarterbacks aren’t being hit in practice, but he also said the Vikings defense is presenting a formidable challenge for his offense.

“We’re not going to win every play. If we had now thrown an interception, you guys would be wanting to know what’s wrong with the defense and why aren’t we intercepting any balls,” he said. “It’s us against a pretty good defense right now. I think they’re getting better. It’s been extremely competitive.”

But Friday will be Bridgewater’s first test against another NFL team. Turner indicated he would like to see some of Bridgewater with the first team.

“In the first time playing, particularly for Teddy, I just want to see him manage the game,” Turner said. “He doesn’t have to be sensational. He needs to make good decisions. He needs to protect the ball, get our group in and out of the huddle, get us into the right play, get us into the right protection. That’s the biggest thing about managing a game.

“He’s going to make plays. When he’s had an opportunity out here, he’s made plays. He’s made big plays throwing the ball up the field and made big plays checking the ball down. So I think for a young guy, his heart’s going to be pounding, he’s going to have butterflies. I don’t know how many games this is for me, but I will too. That’s why this thing is so much fun. That’s why we do what we do and the way we do it.”


  • Tight end Chase Ford is out of his walking boot and was jogging without noticeable discomfort. Ford fractured his foot before training camp started and is the only remaining Viking on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Last week, he moved from a cast and crutches to a walking boot.

  • Tight end AC Leonard remained a bystander in the Tuesday morning walkthrough after suffering a headache in a practice last week. He hasn’t practiced fully since.

  • Safety Robert Blanton continues to watch practice after suffering a hamstring injury on July 28.

  • With defensive end Rakim Cox released Monday to make room for safety Chris Crocker, defensive end Jake Snyder is now wearing the 69 jersey previously worn by Jared Allen.

  • Offensive tackle Antonio Richardson participated in the morning walkthrough with a sleeve on left knee. Richardson said the knee was fine and thought he would be in full pads for the afternoon practice.

  • Turner deferred to Zimmer when asked if running back Adrian Peterson would play.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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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