Teddy Bridgewater providing Minnesota Vikings' faithful with hope

The Minnesota Vikings selected quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the first round of the 2014 draft and since then he has provided Vikings fans everywhere with hope, but he still has a lot to prove.

Quarterback is the most important position on any football team, and when the Mike Zimmer and the rest of his coaching staff took over the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 they knew they needed to address the position. They already had Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel on their roster, but it was clear neither of them were the long-term solution. 

Most people believed that they would address the position in the first round of the 2014 draft, but with their first pick they selected outside linebacker Anthony Barr. It wasn’t until the final pick of the first round when they traded back up and selected Teddy Bridgewater

The original plan was to have Bridgewater sit for a year or two behind Cassel to learn the offense and further develop his skills, but things rarely go as planned in the NFL. Cassel broke his foot in the third game of the season and was placed of injured reserve. That meant that the era of Bridgewater had begun. 

In his first game as a starter, Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, Bridgewater proved that he could indeed be the player that the Viking faithful have been waiting for. He completed 19 passes on 30 attempts for 317 yards. He also ran the ball five times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Bridgewater sprained his ankle at the end of the game, though, so his follow-up performance would have to wait. 

The next game that Bridgewater played in was a rough one as he completed 23 passes on 37 attempts for 188 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked eight times during the game. It was a performance he would like to forget and the rest of the season was filled with peaks and valleys, as it is for most rookie quarterbacks. 

He finished the season completing 64.4 percent of his passes for 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and was sacked 39 times. He also recorded 47 rushing attempts for 209 yards and one touchdown. 

Bridgewater’s stats may not have been the best, but they were enough to give Vikings fans, coaches and the front office hope for the future. It had been a long time since the Vikings had what appeared to be a franchise quarterback, but Bridgewater’s performance made it seem like a possibility. 

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1671990-sparano-brings-an-attitud...  His second season showed noticeable increases in multiple areas, but a big reason for that could have also been because he played in three more games. He ended the season with a 65.3 completion percentage, throwing for 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but he was also sacked 44 times. He was also able to continue to take advantage with his legs, recording 44 rushes for 192 yards and three touchdowns, but he also lost three fumbles. 

There have been a lot of positives to look at through Bridgewater’s first two seasons as the Vikings’ signal caller, but there also have been some things to worry about. He takes far too many sacks, but part of that has also been due to the inconsistent offensive line play in front of him. He doesn’t throw enough touchdowns, but that is also because running back Adrian Peterson gets a lot of the touches when the Vikings were close to the end zone, thus taking the ball out of Bridgewater’s hands. 

The final thing that has seemed to be a cause of concern regarding Bridgewater’s play has been the lack of a down-field passing attack. He may have thrown for more than 3,000 yards last season - the first time a Vikings’ quarterback did so since Brett Favre in 2009 - but he averaged just 7.2 yards a completion. If he wants to continue to develop as a quarterback he will need to complete more passes for 20-plus yards on a consistent basis and learn to stretch out the defense. 

The Vikings added wide receiver Laquon Treadwell this offseason in hopes of helping Bridgewater in the passing game. There is still a lot for him to prove in this coming season and the rest of his career, but it definitely seems as though he is on the right track. 

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