He did take some time to himself, but Bridgewater also organized a get-together with his receivers in Florida, an event that those receivers dubbed the “Teddy Two Gloves Passing Academy.” That name stuck, with coaches like offensive coordinator Norv Turner joking about it in recent weeks.
But Bridgewater has the second 2016 off-site meeting planned before the Vikings report to training camp on July 28.
“I’ll probably get together with the guys again, have another Teddy Two Gloves Passing Academy or something like that – that’s what the guys call it,” Bridgewater said Tuesday.
The Vikings still have two days of minicamp remaining before a five-week break. They report to training camp on July 28, but Bridgewater doesn’t plan to spend the whole time away from football.
Coaches have placed an emphasis on Bridgewater taking more shots downfield this year, and that’s been a part of their offseason practices. He said following through on his throws more has helped, along with familiarity with his receivers.
He’s also been working in the weight room.
“Like I said when I first saw you guys this spring, ‘It’s been a freak show in the weight room,’” he joked, referring his fellow quarterbacks. “Shaun (Hill), Taylor (Heinicke), Joel (Stave) and I, we’ve just been pounding the weights, making sure we do the little things to take care of our bodies to build up stamina, endurance.”
As much as the physical game is part of Bridgewater’s focus, he’s enjoying the benefits of a few years in the game, too, saying he has “total control” of the huddle as he prepares for his third NFL season.
“You walk into that huddle and all 10 guys’ eyes are on you, silent. Talk about having total control, I love it,” he said. “I’ve been able to sit back and watch Chad Greenway, the way he leads the defense, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph. Those guys have command when they walk into those huddles.
“It’s the same on the offensive side of the ball. (John Sullivan) may be talking before I get into the huddle, talking to the linemen or things like that. ( Charles Johnson) may be talking to the wide receivers. Adrian (Peterson) and the backs and tight ends may be talking. But when I step foot in that huddle, it’s all silent and they’re all tuned in and that’s one thing that I like about these guys – we all follow each other and we have great leaders on this team.”
Bridgewater is becoming one of those leaders, with his words and his play on the field. Receiver Stefon Diggs credited the offseason time put in by Bridgewater and the receivers for the anticipated improvement of the passing game.
“All the time we spend together, that offseason and that passing camp that Teddy has and just the time invested and the energy that we put forth,” Diggs said. “Teddy looks really good, just as far as spinning the ball. He looks strong, too. He looks strong, in shape, he looks top-of-the-line. It’s just team camaraderie.”
Diggs was one of receivers that joined Bridgewater for workouts in Florida before the start of organized team activities. Now, after three weeks of OTAs and this week’s minicamp, more is in store.
Ask if he’ll be starting to promote the “Teddy Two Gloves Passing Academy” with t-shirts, Bridgewater said he might have to get Obadiah Gamble – the 7-year-old who created a hip-hop video inviting him to his birthday party – put together a video for the next offseason get-together.
“I might have to do something with the ‘Two Gloves.’ I might have to call my guy Obadiah and make a song or something. I don’t know,” Bridgewater said. “It’s something the guys make up. We just love when we can get together, where we all just take ownership when the coaching staff isn’t there because we’re the coaches on the field so we coach each other. I can’t wait to get with the guys again this summer.
“… Training camp is right around the corner, so just prepare myself physically and mentally so that when July 28 comes I’m ready to go.”