As preseason games go, Saturday night’s contest between the Vikings and Cardinals was pretty darn exciting. And the man in the middle of much of the excitement was none other than rookie first-rounder Teddy Bridgewater.
It’s important to keep things in perspective of course, but still, it’s hard to not be a little bit pumped up over the way Teddy Bridgewater was able to finish off the game, bringing the Vikings back from down four with a little over a minute left to win it 30-28.
Bridgewater’s night overall was pretty impressive. Playing the entire second half, Bridgewater finished with 177 yards and 2 TDs on 16-of-20 passing. Most impressive of all was the way Teddy handled the copious amounts of pressure thrown at him by Arizona.
The Vikings executed a pair of touchdown drives in the fourth quarter with Teddy at the helm, and on both sequences the Cardinals brought tons of extra people after Bridgewater, but Teddy hung tough in the pocket, showing good elusiveness at times and, most importantly, demonstrating a willingness to stand in there and take the hit while still delivering the ball.
Again, preseason. But even knowing that, it was a lot of fun watching Bridgewater march the Vikings down the field. Bridgewater showed really good touch on an array of throws to all areas of the field, including a couple of sweet deep balls, one to Adam Thielen in the end zone that should have been caught for a TD.
When Bridgewater finally did punch it in for his first career (preseason) TD pass, Allen Reisner would be on the receiving end. Remember that name when, in the future, trivia questions are asked about the great Teddy Bridgewater.
The TD to Reisner gave the Vikings a seemingly secure 24-21 lead, but Arizona would fight their way back to the lead themselves, scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a bizarre Yakety Sax-ready play that featured a backward pass, at least one kick by a lineman and a scoop-and-score by Zach Bauman that held up after official review.
That strange comedy-of-errors TD gave the Cardinals a 28-24 advantage with a minute-plus remaining. That minute-plus would be plenty of time for a calm and collected Teddy Bridgewater to lead the Vikings down the field for a game-sealing TD pass to Rodney Smith.
The fans who stuck it out to the end were treated to a pretty entertaining last few minutes of football. Bridgewater’s comeback effort won’t matter a lick in the grand scheme, but it was still fun getting a preview of the Bridgewater we may soon get to see in real regular season football games.
For now, Matt Cassel is the QB, and his effort in the first half Saturday night only cemented that fact. But Bridgewater showed something too against Arizona, even if he was competing against backups in a meaningless game. The pass rushers Arizona sent against Bridgewater were real, and the touch Bridgewater showed on his throws was real. Level-of-competition aside, it was a very nice, confidence-boosting effort by the rookie.
Viking fans may not get to see Bridgewater in meaningful games for awhile yet, but the taste they got Saturday night will tide them over for at least a little while.