One of the main topics of conversation during Minnesota Vikings organized team activities, minicamp and training camp was Teddy Bridgewater’s improvement throwing the deep ball. It was something that didn’t happen often during his first two seasons, but he seemed to be making big strides in that area of his game heading into the start of his third season.
While it is always promising to see a quarterback playing well during their team’s offseason workouts, you can only take their performances with a grain of salt. No defensive player is going to even think of touching their team’s quarterback during practice and handling pressure is often one of the biggest things when evaluating a quarterback’s play.
Friday night marked Bridgewater’s his first opportunity to prove to the world that he has taken a step forward in his third year when he took the field for the Vikings’ first preseason game of the season. The first drive is one that he wanted to forget, as he was under constant pressure and the offense ended up going three-and-out.
On most occasions, a team’s staters, especially the starting quarterback, will be taken out of the first preseason game following the first drive. But the Vikings offense went back out for a second drive, given the limited amount of snaps they received during their first drive.
They started out at their own 4-yard line after the Vikings defense held their ground on a fourth-and-1 run by the Bengals. It was a little touch and go for awhile, but the Vikings offense finally started to get things clicking and a big part of that was because of Bridgewater’s performance.
He was able to hit Adam Thielen for a 22-yard gain in the middle of the field at one point in the drive and also hit Stefon Diggs for a short gain on third down to pick up the first down. But Bridgewater’s most impressive play of the night came on his last throw of the game.
The Vikings were on the Bengals’ 49-yard line and Bridgewater dropped back to pass. He was able to sidestep defenders in the pocket and then air the ball out to Charles Johnson, who was running open down the field. Bridgewater hit Johnson in stride right as he entered into the end zone, a 49-yard completion that was the first score of the game.
“I thought he did good. Teddy is always going to take good care of the football. He’s a very accurate thrower. He’s nimble, being able to move and get out of trouble,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I think he avoided the rush. He hit Charles Johnson on the touchdown. Teddy continues to improve every week and I expect that he’ll continue to improve more.”
Zimmer seemed to be really pleased with the ball Bridgewater completed to Johnson because it is the type of play that stretches out a defense and opens things up underneath for both the passing and running game.
That play capped off a 96-yard scoring drive and was a throw that Vikings fans have been waiting to see more of since Bridgewater first entered the NFL and is something that should excite them about their quarterback moving forward.null