“I think Sam has played great this year, number one. I think he’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback and right now all I’m worried about is Teddy getting better,” Zimmer said on Tuesday. “He comes in here every single day, busts his rear end and I just want him to get better right now and so we’ll worry about those things later.”
Of course, there is still plenty of uncertainty about whether or not Bridgewater will be able to return from a dislocated knee, a torn ACL and other damage in his knee after an Aug. 30 injury during a non-contact passing drill in a preseason practice.
That uncertainty holds true for the start of the 2017 season and beyond, but the Vikings still haven’t revealed the full extent of Bridgewater’s injury. They have, however, researched it.
“Actually with this injury that he has, it’s different with everyone. They went back and whoever’s had this injury they’ve studied it. The ones that have come back, how long it’s taken to come back, how long it hasn’t come back, but they’re all different. There’s no exact injury where it’s all the same, like talking about an ACL, well there’s lots of those and they’re all the same.
“This one, there’s really no exact (injury like it). Some are with nerve damage, some are without nerve damage. There’s so many variables with this particular injury. I do know this: Teddy is a guy that will do everything possible to get back as soon as he possibly can get back and he would be a guy that I would never bet against.”
Bridgewater declined to talk about it as he left the Vikings locker room on Monday as players cleaned out their lockers for the offseason.
When asked if there are players who haven’t been able to return to playing form after a similar injury to Bridgewater’s, Zimmer said “I’m sure there probably is.”
In 15 games started – he missed the regular-season opener as he was acquired via trade a week prior to it – Bradford set an NFL single-season record by completing 71.6 percent of his passes and a franchise record with 395 completions. He ended up with 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions for a 99.3 passer rating.
“Sam has done remarkable, the things he’s done this year with all the things that he’s had to do,” Zimmer said.
In 16 games started in 2015, Bridgewater completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 292 completions, 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 88.7 rating.