Three days after one of the best starting debuts by a rookie in NFL history, Teddy Bridgewater is questionable for his follow-up performance.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback was efficient and effective in his first NFL start Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, hitting on 19 of 30 passes for 317 yards, including a 52-yarder, for a 98.9 passer rating. He is only the second NFL quarterback in the last decade to throw for 300 yards and no interceptions in his first career start, and he is the only rookie in Vikings history to throw for more than 300 yards in his first start.
But in the fourth quarter of that game, Bridgewater suffered a sprained left ankle that has him officially listed as questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
“If we feel like he can go out there and perform and be healthy and not put himself in any harm’s risk we’ll play him,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday. “If not, it’s a long season and we want to do what’s best for not only this week but for the coming weeks as well.”
Bridgewater didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday and was limited in a Wednesday practice that head coach Mike Zimmer termed a “jog-through.”
“Teddy is doing much better. If he can play he will play,” Zimmer said on Tuesday.
“We will just see how he is and we’ll go from there. We just take it one day at a time.”
Bridgewater tested the ankle with some running on Tuesday and was hoping to begin throwing for the first time on Wednesday. Zimmer told KFAN radio that Bridgewater looked “alright” after a taking “a few reps” on Wednesday, but admitted Bridgewater didn’t put much stress on the ankle. He was getting “mental reps” on Tuesday, but his focus during the days following the injury was rehabilitation.
“The training staff has been pushing me mentally and physically to overcome this,” he said.
Although Zimmer said last week that he would need to see veteran linebacker Chad Greenway practice on Friday in order to play him on Sunday – he was listed as out after he didn’t practice because of a broken rib and broken hand – Zimmer left open the possibility for the rookie Bridgewater to play quarterback without much practice this week.
“He is pretty mentally sharp on all of his stuff,” Zimmer said. “He’s fine mentally. He’s good.”
Bridgewater made the trip to Wisconsin with the team on Wednesday.
Receiver Jarius Wright said Bridgewater played “lights-out” in his first start and the rookie impressed others with his poise under pressure.
“He’s too calm. He’s always calm under pressure,” receiver Cordarrelle Patterson said. “That’s how he was in college, I heard, and just watching him every play and just watching how calm he is under pressure is incredible.”
The last rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards without an interception in his first start was Robert Griffin in 2012, and there weren’t many before that, either.
The only other quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards and no interceptions in their first start were Eric Hipple (1981), Browning Nagle (1992), Jay Fiedler (2000) and Griffin.
Bridgewater became only the third Vikings rookie to win his first start.
In addition to Bridgewater being listed as questionable, Greenway and TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) were declared out. CB Captain Munnerlyn (illness), RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle) and CB Josh Robinson (hamstring), who were all limited earlier in the week, were full participants on Wednesday and declared probable.
For the Packers, WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) is out. LB Sam Barrington (hamstring) and DT Josh Boyd (knee) are doubtful. LBs Brad Jones (quadriceps) and Clay Matthews (groin) are probable, as are OL T.J. Lang (not injury-related) and LB/DE Mike Neal (hip), who were added to the injury report on Wednesday.
Vikings' Bridgewater questionable vs. Packers
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