Bridgewater is still recovering from a devastating knee injury on Aug. 30 in which he dislocated his knee and tore multiple ligaments, including the anterior cruciate ligament. While he has transitioned from pool work to work on dry land, the Vikings continue to say there is no timeline on his return to full practices.
“Teddy, I can tell you, our first week of offseason has been incredible. He’s been in here working as hard as anyone, fighting his way back,” General Manager Rick Spielman said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t put it past that kid how quickly he can come back. But it’s still unknown.”
The Vikings aren’t expected to pick up Bridgewater’s fifth-year option for 2018, which would pay him somewhere around $12 million dollars and would be guaranteed for injury.
While that wouldn’t stop the Vikings from working on an extension that isn’t guaranteed and wouldn’t pay him that much – something they would certainly consider if they believe he will play again at full strength in the coming years – the situation that’s most likely is the team engaging in talks to extend Bradford’s contract.
Asked if the team has approached his agent for extension talks, Bradford paused and then said he didn’t believe they have.
The Vikings could always place the franchise tag on him, but Spielman said “nothing is concrete or no decisions have been made” when asked about that possibility.
“Bradford was here the very first day and leading the group and we are very fortunate to have both of those players at that position on our roster right now,” Spielman said.
“One, I’m never going to talk about contracts and who we are extending and not extending into the future. We always keep that in-house. I know I sat with Rob Brzezinski looking at those scenarios and we already have some plans in place because I know we have some significant young guys coming up here in the future. So that process we’ve already started planning for, but I won’t get into specifics of who or what.”
Bradford has bounced around the league since being the No. 1 overall draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010. He moved on to Philadelphia in 2015, then was traded eight days before the start of the 2016 regular season to the Vikings after Bridgewater’s injury.
He hasn’t found stability yet, but that could come with the Vikings.
“It’s one of those things that I kind of went through the situation a little bit when I was in Philadelphia,” he said about his contract uncertainty. “Honestly, I try not to think about it too much just because I don’t have a whole lot of control over it. I come in here every day trying to get better and try to be the best teammate, the best quarterback I can be. I think that’s all that I can really do.”
Spielman said there is “no timeline” to make the important contract decisions on their top two quarterbacks, but the Vikings would have to decide by May 2 on the fifth-year option for Bridgewater. Ever since his injury, the fifth-year option has seemed unlikely.
For now, the concentration with Bridgewater is simply on getting him healthy and re-immersed in whatever team activities he can handle in his rehabilitation.
“It’s been good to see him,” Bradford said Tuesday after a workout. “… Obviously I’m familiar with kind of what he’s going through right now. I just try to encourage him and if he ever needs anything, obviously I’m here for him. Just kind of give him advice, things I ended up going through twice.”