Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater gets a high five before the Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings don’t get to make their first draft pick until May 8, but they are already acting like they have their man.
And that man is Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.
In recent days, the doors of Winter Park have been thrown open for Mr. Bridgewater and he has been welcomed in like he’s already a member of the family.
While other draft prospects are being shuttled through in assembly line fashion, Bridgewater seemingly has taken up permanent residence.
The Louisville QB was in this weekend for a workout. The Vikings decided that wasn’t enough, and kept him around for an extended stay that lasted at least until Tuesday.
I have no further information on Teddy’s whereabouts. For all I know, he might have left the Twin Cities Tuesday evening or Wednesday. Or he could still be there, maybe looking at houses.
Until someone confirms that Teddy is gone, I’m going to just assume he’s still hanging out at Winter Park. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he already has a uniform number picked out and a nameplate just waiting to be affixed above the locker that has been set aside for him.
Of course, if we’ve learned one thing throughout the years, it’s that we should never ever ever read anything into what teams do or say during the pre-draft process. Right?
Rick Spielman, crafty devil that he is, might just be carrying out an elaborate ruse with all this Bridgewater stuff. He might be trying to mask the team’s true intentions by creating the strong impression that Bridgewater is their man.
Or, maybe, Bridgewater really is their man?
Perhaps, in the Vikings’ minds, the scouting/selecting process is already over and for all intents and purposes, Bridgewater is their quarterback. The draft itself might be seen as a mere formality.
That probably seems presumptuous if not downright cocky, but maybe it isn’t. Bridgewater as of now is not widely projected to be a top 7 pick. In fact, the former consensus best QB in the draft is routinely being mocked into the latter stages of the first round.
Why all the negativity about a guy who was once a supposed lock #1 overall? Some have cried foul, saying Bridgewater’s stock is deliberately being torpedoed. Others claim they are legitimately down on Bridgewater in the wake of his poor pro day showing.
However the circumstance came about, it now seems highly likely that Bridgewater will be available at #8. The Vikings might even be able to trade down a little and still take him.
In the Vikings’ minds, there may be no reason to even bother pretending anymore. They love Bridgewater, they will make him their future QB.
So, instead of a regular old pre-draft look-see, it’s possible the recent extended Bridgewater visit was a de facto orientation session/first practice.
I don’t know what NFL rules say specifically about treating a draft prospect like he’s already a member of your team, but I say if you can get away with it under the current set-up, then why not?
If you have already basically drafted a player in your own mind, why not use the “visit” process to get him acclimated to your facilities? Give him a chance to meet the guys who will be his coaches, trainers and teammates?
Is it a coincidence that Bridgewater’s extended visit happened to take place at the same time as offseason conditioning, meaning staff and players were already in Winter Park to help give Teddy the whole NFL experience?
I think it’s a savvy move. In essence, you’ve given Bridgewater a head start on his transition. Now when he shows up for real rookie camp later, he will be ahead of the curve and able to get right to work learning everything he needs to learn.
He won’t even need to ask where the bathrooms are, because he already knows!
Maybe it’s a small thing, but in the NFL, you take every advantage you can get. Even if it means bending the rules a little tiny bit.
Johnny Manziel fans may not want to hear this, but it really does look like Teddy Bridgewater will be the pick come May 8. Of course we will have to wait until then to know for sure.
The Vikings themselves? They may already know what is going to happen, and are just waiting to get the formalities out of the way so they can hand Teddy his purple jersey and get to work making him the franchise QB they’ve so long been seeking.