Teddy Bridgewater has been impressing coaches and teammates alike with the progress he has made as he tries to come back from a dislocated left knee and multiple torn ligaments, including the anterior cruciate ligament, last summer.
Bridgewater crumpled to the Minnesota Vikings practice field with the injury while rolling out last Aug. 30. He hasn’t practiced in a full-team setting since, but he appears to be progressing toward that at some point this year.
Meanwhile, his attitude and progress have impressed those surrounding him.
“Just a likeable person. He’s a leader. He’s a friend if you want him to be a friend and just his charisma,” wide receiver Laquon Treadwell said. “He’s a people person. A people’s champ. That’s what makes people drawn to him.”
While Bridgewater’s physical status has changed dramatically since this time last spring, his attitude has remained upbeat. He continues to crack jokes to teammates, coaches and reporters, even if he won’t discuss his status.
Bridgewater’s progress can be harder to measure on a day-to-day basis, but last week, after head coach Mike Zimmer returned from two weeks away to help his surgically repaired eye to recover, Zimmer saw an advancement in Bridgewater’s recovery.
“Sometimes when you see a guy every day you don't notice the progress that he's made. I'm gone for two weeks and he, obviously, isn't on the tape. So, I come back yesterday and I said ‘Wow, Teddy, he's moving better,’ quite a bit better in my opinion,” Bridgewater said. “But, he's still got a long way to go. I think he's happy with the progress.
“I know he's very impatient about wanting to get out there and go. But we have to do it within the best interest of him in the long run. At the end, the final say is going to be from the doctors.”
Bridgewater’s routine remains much the same in the last couple weeks of practices. He is throwing to receivers during the early portion of practice and appears to have no real hindrance in dropping back. However, when it comes time to get the whole offense and defense together with a rush coming at the quarterback, he heads to the sidelines for rehabilitative work.
“With anybody who takes an injury like that, it will take a couple tackles to overcome it. He’ll be fine,” Treadwell said. “He’s out here working hard and looking night and day. That’s even better than last year, if you ask me. He’s strong-minded. He’s just ready, ready to overcome that obstacle.”
He continues to watch film and attend every practice, doing everything he would as if his return is coming. For now, there still is no timetable, but those around him believe it will happen.
“That’s his biggest thing. When you go through injury like that, family is your friend at that time,” Treadwell said. “Just stay hungry and believe in yourself and he’ll be fine.”