Winning the fan-voted Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award recognized Teddy Bridgewater’s accomplishment from 2014, but 2015 is his intense focus now.
Speaking on the blue carpet at the awards celebration honoring him late last week, he made it clear he is far from satisfied.
“The expectation level is very high where we are right now. We’re not satisfied with the 7-9 season,” the rising Minnesota Vikings star said. “I’m not satisfied with the 6-6 season as a starter. You want to eventually be in the conversation with the Peyton Mannings, the Tom Bradys, the Russell Wilsons, the Aaron Rodgers – the elite quarterbacks in this league. As a team, we want to be in those conversations with the New England Patriots or the Seattle Seahawks.”
Bridgewater didn’t win the official rookie of the year award that is voted on by the media, with that honor going to New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., but he clearly plans to win more awards – and more games – in the future.
“The plan is to not only take part in these events but be on this stage next year or down the road,” he said, referring to the Super Bowl. “You want to be in the ultimate game. That’s why you play this game, to be on the big stage. The individual awards, they mean a lot also. It shows the type of season that you have, but none of this would happen without my teammates and the fans.”
Bridgewater called the Pepsi award the biggest of his career, and he was joined by several Pro Football Hall of Famers, along with a few current stars in the NFL, at the event to help celebrate.
One of those was former Vikings receiver Cris Carter, now an NFL analyst for ESPN.
“Teddy is doing a good job. I’m proud of him. He’s going to be a good player,” Carter said.
Asked if Carter believes the Vikings have found their franchise quarterback for years to come, Carter said that is not only his belief but also that of the decision-makers in the team’s front office.
“I think they have. They think so too,” Carter said, adding: “They need to give him some help.”
Bridgewater said his contact with Vikings coaches has been limited over the last month, and that’s the way they want it.
“They told me to get away from ball. (The coaching staff) wants me to get away from ball, but it’s hard for me to do that knowing that I’m a football junkie,” Bridgewater said. “I’m taking their advice and getting away from ball, but still talking to them once a week or once every two weeks.”
Still, Bridgewater plans to get together with much of his receiving corps in the next month to work on their game and generally get to know each other better.
Before then, however, he plans to spend time taking a critical look at his performances during his rookie season. He believes he and the offense made solid strides in 2014, but there is much more to improve upon.
“Basically I’m going to watch tape and study myself and critique myself like never before,” he said. “I’m going to break down the other quarterbacks in this league – Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, why those guys do well and why they’ve been having success for so long.”
Bridgewater plans critique, talks aspirations
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