Bridgewater played only two series but completed 7 of 7 passes for 76 yards and took his first sack of the preseason, but the highlight of his Saturday night against the Dallas Cowboys was a 39-yard bomb to the Minnesota Vikings’ newest deep threat, Mike Wallace.
Wallace entered the game with only one catch for two yards, but Bridgewater saw him getting single coverage before first-quarter snap, audibled into the pass play and got the snap with 2 second left on the play clock. Bridgewater lofted the ball high downfield to Wallace down the right sideline.
“We wanted to run the ball at first, but we wanted to get out of a bad play,” Bridgewater said. “A quarterback’s job is to get us into the right play. We have little plays and checks built into plays. … To be able to sit back and execute it, that’s what this league is about. Sometimes you’re going to get some looks that aren’t the best looks for that play and our job is to get the team in the right plays.”
That 39-yard completion put the Vikings in position for their first points of the game and a 3-0 lead after a Blair Walsh field goal.
Bridgewater and Wallace have connected several times in recent practices, but that hadn’t transferred into game action until Saturday night. Wallace finished the game with three catches for 50 yards.
“It was a great throw. I didn’t see him getting hit, but I saw the throw and the catch,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I know everybody wants to see Wallace get a bunch of deep throws and so do I, but it’s important for us to go through the progressions and through the reads and make the correct throws. That’s why (Bridgewater’s) completion percentage was 100 percent tonight because he continues to do those things. It’s not always about throwing the ball to one guy – it’s about making the reads, making the correct throws and maybe taking a 4-yard gain instead of throwing incompletions.”
Bridgewater’s efficiency against the Cowboys means he has completed 29 of 35 passes for 295 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and one sack. That adds up to completing an impressive 82.86 percent of his passes for a 111.3 passer rating.
“It’s just the preseason. I do want to continue to aim for 70 percent (completions) throughout the course of the regular season. This team, we have bigger goals,” Bridgewater said.
Zimmer joked that they’ll raise the expectation to 85 percent for Bridgewater in the regular season.
It could be the end of Bridgewater’s preseason, as the Vikings will want to get a long look at their backups in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans before cutting the roster to 53 players, but Bridgewater was impressive against a Cowboys defense that featured their starters beyond Bridgewater’s time in the game and was 19th in total defense last year.
Backup Shaun Hill completed 6 of 8 passes against the Cowboys for 50 yards, completing the first half before giving way to Taylor Heinicke to start the third quarter. Heinicke also hit every attempt, completing 11 passes for 83 yards.