Facing the pressure of his first career start more than a month later, he threw for more than 300 yards and led the Vikings to a 41-28 win over the Falcons. He wasn’t overly demonstrative or boisterous. He just went out and did his job.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings is a veteran who has worked with, among others, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his quarterbacks. He has seen the best the game has to offer, as well as some lesser quarterbacks since crossing the border to Minnesota. But when he sees Bridgewater, he sees the potential for greatness.
Topping that list is that he doesn’t seem overwhelmed by his situation and nothing seems to bother him or get him making poor decisions.
“I haven’t seen anything rattle him yet,” Jennings said. “Even with the ankle (injury), he wasn’t rattled – even trying to come out and play last Thursday, he showed the same face all week.”
In fact, Jennings intimated that Bridgewater may have been instrumental in the decision not to play him last week. While the final call came down to head coach Mike Zimmer and the medical staff, Bridgewater told Jennings and his receivers that he didn’t think he was healthy enough to give the team a chance to win given his limited mobility.
“He simply said, ‘I want to be able to put my best out there’ and he didn’t feel like he was going to able to do that,” Jennings said. “He conveyed that to us and said that he didn’t want to put something out there that wasn’t going to be able to get it done.” Had Bridgewater been too headstrong, he could have made a bad situation worse, turning what appears to have been a one-week injury – he practiced fully on Wednesday and Zimmer expects him to play Sunday – into potentially a lingering injury that could have carried on longer if he wasn’t able to properly protect himself. Jennings gave Bridgewater a tip of the hat for being forthcoming about the health of his ankle and believes it is just another sign of the leadership qualities that Teddy brings to the team.
“You have to respect him,” Jennings said. “A lot of young guys would just go out there and do it just because of peer pressure or just showing toughness. Toughness isn’t always shown by what you can do physically. It’s mental toughness, too, and he definitely has it.”