The road to taking Teddy Bridgewater was a long and winding path for the Vikings, even though the team thought he was the draft’s best quarterback after the college season was over.
After the college season though, questions emerged after Bridgewater’s shaky pro day. His arm strength and deep ball were questioned and his weigh-in didn’t impress scouts who were concerned about his potential durability at the NFL level.
The Vikings were there for Bridgewater’s shaky pro day, but they got over it. Bridgewater doesn’t have the greatest arm strength, but Norv Turner didn’t care. And Rick Spielman saw him take a helmet to helmet shot from a future NFL linebacker and get right back in the huddle.
If you wanted to find out the full details of how the Vikings became comfortable with Teddy Bridgewater, please check out this excellent piece by Dan Pompei of Sports on Earth.
Pompei details how the Vikings were able to alleviate their concerns about Bridgewater and become comfortable with the idea of making him the team’s quarterback of the future. If you are critical of the Bridgewater pick, it’s worth a look. Obviously, the piece does not mean that Bridgewater will be a successful NFL quarterback, but it at least helps you understand the Vikings thought process with Bridgewater leading up to the draft.
If you don’t want to take the time to read the whole piece, I’ll just share some highlights:
- Turner wasn’t worried about Bridgewater’s arm strength. Turner watched the tape of Bridgewater’s pro day weeks after attending it live, and “saw no evidence of insufficient arm strength,” according to Pompei.
- Turner was impressed by Bridgewater’s quick delivery. Pompei mentioned that Brad Johnson had a Pro Bowl season under Turner even though he was considered to have averaged arm strength. What Johnson did have though, was a quick release.
- Pompei wrote that another Turner quarterback came into the NFL on the small side with durability concerns. Turner also took him with the 32nd overall pick. And that quarterback, Drew Brees, has yet to miss a game due to injury even though he and Bridgewater had roughly similar weights coming out of college.
- The Vikings believe that Bridgewater can still improve. Brees matured physically in the NFL and the Vikings believe that Bridgewater, at 21 years old, could do the same.
So while the Vikings had the same concerns most analysts had about Bridgwater leading up to the draft, the front office and coaching staff were able to alleviate those concerns after careful consideration. Even though the Vikings did try to trade up to take Johnny Manziel, it’s clear they didn’t up their offer to Philadelphia because they were very comfortable with taking Teddy Bridgewater.
Will Bridgewater be able to back up the confidence the Vikings have in him? That’s the one question the team is still looking to answer.