After an opening day that head coach Mike Zimmer termed “rusty” for Teddy Bridgewater, the Minnesota Vikings’ young quarterback was improved in Day 2.
Bridgewater and the entire offense struggled to find a rhythm on Sunday as the Vikings opened training camp, but the young quarterback was better on Monday.
“Yesterday he was a little rusty. Today he was much better. I thought he threw the ball a lot better today,” Zimmer said. “When you get 11-on-11 and things start moving, it’s kind of how it is a little bit. But I thought he did much better today.”
Bridgewater was 3-for-4 in one full-team session, hitting Charles Johnson for three first downs before throwing his only incompletion to Jarius Wright, but the best of the Bridgewater-Johnson connection was saved for a 7-on-7 session. Bridgewater dropped back and lofted a pass deep downfield that threaded an opening between cornerback Terence Newman and safety Harrison Smith. Johnson plucked the ball out of the air and went into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown.
However, Tuesday will be the first real test for the Vikings as they put on the pads for the first time since the end of their 2014 season.
It marks a point in training camp that Zimmer is looking forward to, as he spoke out against the rules limiting contact during offseason workouts.
“Tomorrow will be the first day that (cornerbacks) can press, which in my opinion is ridiculous,” Zimmer said. “We go out here and try to press every day in the games, and for all through OTAs and minicamp and the first two days of training camp you can’t press. … We’re going to look sloppy tomorrow pressing because we haven’t done it in six months. It’s something we’re going to have to start working on starting tomorrow.
“… It’s ridiculous. You know, if you’re a corner and you’re trying to get better at pressing and you can’t ever do that, it’s really hurting your career possibly because you can’t practice what you need to practice.”
That could ratchet up the intensity even more, but Monday provided one moment of tension, pushing and shoving.
After T.J. Clemmings got blown back off the line of scrimmage, but Matt Kalil and Everson Griffen had their own issues. Kalil and Griffen, who both went to USC, got into a shoving match when Kalil started grabbing Griffen’s facemask and his helmet popped off. The defensive end circled back around to Kalil after being restrained by teammates.
“I didn’t see it. I was watching one of the corners on that play. I don’t know,” Zimmer said. “Those two guys sometimes have a little thing going on.”
Griffen was clearly upset, even after defensive line coach Andre Patterson had a talk with him.