Bridgewater’s leadership shines in comments

Teddy Bridgewater took a true leadership stance by saying the Vikings need to prove their talent, not just talk about it.

There is about as much optimism in July for Vikings football as there was in 2010, when Vikings teammates were planning a Seal Team 6 move on Brett Favre. Even the national media is begrudgingly going on record as saying they think the Mike Zimmer/Norv Turner regime has something going.

But in what may be his first official leadership move as a no-longer rookie, Teddy Bridgewater told everyone to tap the brakes.

In an interview with USA Today, Bridgewater said he feels good about the Vikings’ chances in 2015, but isn’t ready to start drinking the Kool Aid just yet.

“Right now, we’re not as good as what we think,” Bridgewater said.

That is what you call leadership.

Bridgewater clarified his comment, saying, “We know that the ceiling is very high and the expectation level is very high – not only for the players, but from a coaching staff also. We know what’s being asked of us, but we have a long way to go.”

In one comment, Bridgewater clarified a point that few second-year players can fathom. He acknowledged that the Vikings rightfully have high expectations, but until they prove it on the field, players, coaches and fans need to curb their enthusiasm and ease up on the hyperbole.

It isn’t always easy to quantify leadership and players taking on the responsibility of backing up the enthusiasm of other players. Bridgewater displayed that quality in his interview with USA Today and, along the way, has set the tone for the 2015 season.

There is no question that the Vikings consider themselves a playoff team, but in the end, talk is cheap. Until they prove it on the field, making comments about how good they are is little more than the preseason bluster that typifies Rex Ryan-coached teams. Until you show it on the field, all the huffing and puffing in the world doesn’t mean a thing.

He didn’t say much in his interview, but Bridgewater spoke volumes, both in terms of what the Vikings can accomplish and what they have accomplished to date. For that reason, he has taken the next step in his maturation as a player and his ability to be a spokesman for the Vikings and a face of the franchise – not by what he can say about the team’s potential, but his realization that the Vikings have all the pieces to the puzzle in place, but have yet to arrange the pieces to complete the puzzle.

When that happens, the tough talk can commence. Until then, the Vikings remain a work in progress.

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