That’s good for the Minnesota Vikings … to an extent. However, the head coach is hoping Bridgewater becomes more outspoken about plays he likes and those he either doesn’t feel comfortable with or doesn’t believe will work as well.
“We try to rely on Teddy,” Zimmer said when asked about getting the second-year quarterback’s input on the offense. “Sometimes Teddy is not as vocal as he should be because he’s a pleaser and he wants to do whatever. That’s some of the things I talk to him about is making sure you understand that it’s OK to say, ‘I don’t really like that play’ sometimes or ‘I really like this combination of things.’ He’s done better with it this year, but he’s still not to that point yet.
The Vikings offense appears to be shifting to more of a quick passing game and finding success doing it. Bridgewater said that is partially a product of not wanting to put additional stress on his pass protectors on the offensive line and Bridgewater, who was one of the top three-most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL earlier this season, took only one sack in his last game.
It was also the most efficient and productive game of Bridgewater’s career. He was 17-for-20 passing for 231 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, resulting in a career-high 154.4 passer rating, third-best in the NFL this year (minimum of 20 passes). That came off a career-high 335 yards passing the previous week against a stout Arizona Cardinals defense.
Those two games added to his impressive December in his rookie season. In seven December games, he has a 71.4 completion percentage, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions and a 103.8 passer rating.
“You just have to understand the situation. It’s the time of the year where teams are playing their best football,” he said of his December success. “I’m glad that we’re on the upside of that right now with momentum heading into this next game. It’s good to get things going in December, especially with the chance to make a playoff run. Guys understand the situation, they’ve embraced the challenge from Coach Zimmer and they know how important these two games are.”
Zimmer didn’t really have an explanation for Bridgewater’s impressive December outings in his two NFL seasons. The coach just knows that Bridgewater is playing, and practicing, well.
“He’s throwing the ball really well in practice right now,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know what the case would be last year. I hope this year it would be because we have a chance to be where we’re at and maybe that excites him. Maybe last year was more learning and getting better, getting better and things like that.”
But part of the maturation process should include being a more vocal about the game plan with Zimmer, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner.
Still, Bridgewater gave some public insight into what he likes.
“We talk all the time,” he said of Norv and Scott Turner. “I’m a guy who likes to be on the move. I’m all about rhythm, getting going early. You put the tape on, we’re running nakeds (bootlegs) and things like that, getting the ball out quick and that’s been helping us.”
Zimmer isn’t afraid to tell it like he sees it, as he did with Bridgewater, but he knows that’s not an ingrained part of his quarterback’s nature.
“As I’ve said this before about Ted, he’s more about wins than he is personal achievements,” Zimmer said. “When the team wins, we all want to make sure we play good, but he really is conscious about winning as a team and that’s kind of been his M.O. in college, high school and here now.
“He can do a lot better with it. He can be a lot more vocal. I’ve expressed to him to be more vocal with it. You know how he is. He’s pretty nice.”