While there’s rumors out there that Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater may not have been the top quarterback on the Vikings board, it doesn’t look like there’s any question as to who Teddy was hoping to land with.
“Minnesota is where I want to play,” Bridgewater told Mike Zimmer before the draft.
When asked why at his introductory press conference at Winter Park today, Bridgewater said “it’s a family atmosphere. I was able to establish a relationship with everyone in this organization. The relationships that I was able to establish before the draft just made me more comfortable.”
“Throughout this process, I’ve been able to meet great coaches and great owners, but none like the Minnesota Vikings,” Bridgewater said.
Bridgewater also had high praise for the coaching staff of the Vikings, particularly offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner.
“I think Scott and Norv Turner, I feel like they’re great coaches,” Bridgewater said. “I think they’re offensive geniuses.”
Bridgewater has already talked to some of his new teammates. He said Sharrif Floyd (who Teddy beat in the Sugar Bowl in 2013) and Kyle Rudolph had already sent him texts welcoming him to Minnesota.
Bridgewater did not sound like someone who was bitter at all about his draft position, even though he was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick for most of the college football season.
“It wasn’t tough at all,” Bridgewater said of the media criticism of him leading up to the draft. “My mindset was worry about the things you can control.”
Bridgewater received plenty of criticism following his pro day, where he did not perform well even though quarterbacks typically shine during the workouts. Rick Spielman said the workout was troubling for the Vikings, but later private workouts sold the team.
“They were drooling when they came back,” Zimmer said after the Turners worked out Bridgewater in Florida.
Spielman said Bridgewater’s later workout made the team’s brain trust say “this is the guy we saw on tape,” and according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Vikings thought Bridgewater had the best tape of any quarterback prospect.
A big difference between Bridgewater’s pro day and workout with the Vikings was the fact that he wore gloves for the latter. Bridgewater started wearing gloves his freshmen year at Louisville, but he went barehanded for his pro day, a decision which backfired on him.
“You can best believe I’ll continue to use my gloves,” Bridgewater said.
With the glove question answered, the looming question left is just how soon Bridgewater sees the field for the team. While he mentioned there was “no pressure” on him to start right away, he’s also not used to riding the pine.
“I can’t even tell you the last time I sat and watched,” Bridgewater said. “I just want to compete at a high level and lead this team.”
“Once I can show that I’m the best guy on the roster at the position, then it’ll be up to the coaches.”
Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer did not sound ready to rush their young quarterback, but Zimmer could not really contain his excitement.
“He’s a guy that has great, great character,” Zimmer said. “A guy that’s a great leader. All he does is win.”