Teddy Bridgewater has declined numerous interview requests to speak of his progress in recovering from a brutal knee injury on Aug. 30, but general manager Rick Spielman addressed one portion of Bridgewater’s rehabilitation during an extensive talk with reporters on Thursday.
Spielman’s key point during the Bridgewater discussion: No timeline for his return has been established.
“I think it was unfortunate that the reports came out that it was whatever his timeline is. I can tell you internally there is no timeline,” Spielman said. “Every player goes through rehab. Teddy is attacking his rehab as diligently as he can. He’s putting everything into it to get back on the field as quickly as he can.”
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and other ligament tears that caused a dislocated knee during a non-contact play in an Aug. 30 practice. He was placed on season-ending injured reserve the following day and had surgery in early September.
But, while Bridgewater is doing rehab exercises to regain motion in his knee and leg, he hasn’t started doing quarterback activities yet, concentrating on rehab that will “get him back to being functional,” according to Spielman.
“That’s the unknown. You just have to react, and how he’s reacting to his rehab, he’s pushing it as hard as he can and when it happens, it happens,” Spielman said. “But I don’t have any concern that he’s going to do everything that he possibly can to get back as quickly as he can. It’s just there’s no timeline and I think it’s unfair for anyone to put a timeline on an injury like that.”
Asked if he was 100 percent certain that Bridgewater would be able to play football at some point, Spielman said “everybody is hoping, but I’m not … a soothsayer.”
Spielman referenced the surprising recovery of running back Adrian Peterson from a torn ACL in December 2011. Peterson returned in time for the start of the 2012 season and rushed for 2,097 yards, the second-best single-season total in NFL history.
However, Bridgewater had additional ligament damage and his injury is clearly more significant than Peterson’s was.
“People were trying to put a timeline on Adrian Peterson. Adrian Peterson came back off that ACL and had his best season I think as a Minnesota Viking, or one of his best seasons as a Minnesota Viking. So it is totally unfair to say that there is a timeline on Teddy Bridgewater because it’s unknown,” Spielman said. “And no one knows where he’s going to be. No one knows where he’s going to be. I know where he’s at today. No one knowns where he’s going to be three months from now.”
Actually, in less than three months, in early May, the Vikings will have to make a decision on whether or not to exercise the fifth-year option on Bridgewater’s rookie contract. With so many unknowns about his rehab and the presence of veteran Sam Bradford, acquired in a trade after Bridgewater’s injury, picking up Bridgewater’s option seems unlikely.
“That’s going to be another situation that’s going to come up. I think him and Anthony Barr are the next two that are coming up in May for options. So that will play a factor into our financial planning for the future, as well,” Spielman said. “I think we do have some significant players coming up here [for contract extensions in the coming year].”
For now, the Vikings are very pleased with the performance of Bradford in 2016 and keeping an open mind about Bridgewater’s recovery.