Bridgewater becoming ‘chilled and laid back’

Teddy Bridgewater is getting better on the field and more comfortable with his teammates and his role off the field.

Calm, cool, and collected. That is how a lot of people describe the Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback. When out on the field during games, Teddy Bridgewater is not the type of player that experiences many highs or lows emotionally – if he does, he hides it well. He seems to always have a calm demeanor.

In the locker room he acts that way as well. He is simply chilled and laid back, but recently you can start to see another side of Bridgewater coming to the surface when he is interacting with his teammates. He now seems to be joking around and being a lot more comfortable when around them.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes has a locker right next to Bridgewater’s, so he has been able to see Bridgewater get more comfortable with his teammates but notes that he has been that way a lot longer than people realize.

“(Bridgewater) has his moments when he’s joking around and sometimes he has his moments when he is calm, cool and collected and he sits back and observes,” Rhodes said. “Like I said, he has his other moments when he is joking around and cracking jokes, and raps a lot and stuff like that.

“Teddy’s been that way since he first walked in. First couple of days, first couple of weeks as a rookie you’re going to be quiet, but adapted and he got used to the locker room quicker than I did when I was a rookie; it took me a little while to get used to the locker room and open up. But it took Teddy at least two weeks, two to three weeks, and he was open and willing to talk to anyone and everybody.”

There is a corner in the Vikings locker room where a lot of players seem to gather to joke around and have a good time. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, running back Jerick McKinnon, linebacker Gerald Hodges and others are all part of the relaxed, upbeat area.

As of late, or at least when media members are allowed in the locker room, it seems that Bridgewater has made his way over there more and more, and sometimes even makes himself the center of attention while joking around. Hodges has noticed that Bridgewater has become more comfortable lately, and even said that he is a funny guy.

“Oh, he’s very comfortable. He jokes around with everybody. He’s a funny guy,” Hodges said. “And a lot of quarterbacks you see – I haven’t been in many locker rooms – but in college and things like that, guys walk around always serious. And the things he shows in the locker room – just calm, really cool collective guy, just real chilled and laid back.”

Getting more comfortable in a new environment is something that everybody has to go through at one time or another, and it is no different for players when they have to enter into a new locker room. There are few familiar faces, so they can often feel a little uncomfortable at the start.

Head coach Mike Zimmer knows this and thinks that it has been a natural process that Bridgewater has been going through, and that Bridgewater is starting to loosen up around his teammates.

“A lot of things like that as we get going – the joking around, the communication, really everything,” Zimmer said of Bridgewater’s emerging personality. “And it’s a natural process that I’m sure he’s gone through.”

Last week Zimmer came out and said that the franchise belongs to Bridgewater. With that statement comes plenty of responsibility, but it defines him as a leader on the team. With that, he has sought the support of teammates and it appears he has gained that support in the entire locker room, and with his head coach. And Bridgewater said his teammates don’t put any extra pressure on him, which has helped him get more comfortable and open up.

“Playing this position, it’s like you’re assigned leadership, but for me the guys have just continued to just not add any more pressure to me,” Bridgewater said. “They continue to tell me, ‘Stay within your character.’ Guys continue to just gravitate toward me and my personality.”

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