What if Teddy Bridgewater never got injured with the Vikings?

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /

What would the Minnesota Vikings be like if Teddy Bridgewater hadn’t gotten hurt?

There have been many what-if situations in Minnesota Vikings history. These questions can eat away at fans, especially when they involve their favorite players of happened at a crucial time in the season.

Some examples of this type of scenario include:

  • What if Drew Pearson did not push off?
  • What if Darrin Nelson did not drop that pass?
  • What if the Herschel Walker trade did not happen?
  • What if Gary Anderson did not miss that field goal?
  • What if Naufahu Tahi was not the 12th man in the huddle?

Among the most recent ones is, what if Teddy Bridgewater did not suffer that horrific injury right before the start of the 2016 season?

The former Vikings quarterback will be facing his former team for the first time this Sunday.

After Christian Ponder did not pan, the Vikings then traded back into the first round of the 2014 draft and selected Bridgewater at no.32 out of Louisville.

The organization and fans immediately got excited about him potentially becoming the franchise quarterback, something they have not had much luck with since they had a Hall of Famer by the name of Fran Tarkenton.

In Bridgewater’s first two years he played in 29 total games (28 starts) and threw 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Those aren’t exactly eye-popping numbers, but he definitely had promise and showed that if kept improving he will be this team’s quarterback for years to come. He also played very well given he had one of the worst offensive lines in the league both years.

His deep ball accuracy was a concern, but his ability to extend plays with his legs and make smart decisions were among the positives during those two seasons. He also displayed great leadership skills and had the respect of everyone in the organization.

In 2016, he continued to show signs of progression during the preseason, but just two days after the team’s third preseason game, the unthinkable happened. He tore both his ACL and dislocated his knee. At the time there were doubts he will even be able to play ever again. Amputation was even a possibility too.

It was a very bad punch to the gut for the organization and Minnesota Vikings fanbase. Given how the regular season was just less than two weeks ago, it looked like they would be stuck with Shaun Hill.

Not only did the injury really hurt the excitement of the 2016 team given the high expectations and entering year one in U.S. Bank Stadium, but also the future. Who would be under center for this team going forward?

The team’s general manager pulled off a shocking trade later in the week with the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford. The Vikings gave up a first-round pick and a conditional 2017 fourth-round pick.

Bradford had a good year, throwing 20 touchdowns and five interceptions in 15 games, along with a record-breaking 71.6 completion percentage, but the team finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs after going 11-5 the year before and winning the division. The team also struggled in the run game too, which was not the case the previous year when Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing.

Minnesota went 13-3 the next year and made it to the NFC Championship with Case Keenum under center. There is a great chance they would have made it to the Super Bowl and perhaps won it if Bradford or Dalvin Cook did not get injured early in the season, or the Atlanta Falcons won in Philadelphia, which would have meant the Minnesota Vikings would have hosted the title game.

They also would have a great shot to make it to the Super Bowl and have won it if Bridgewater never got hurt. Not only would he have very likely kept improving, but the Vikings also would not have had to trade for Bradford. The trade to bring him in not only cost them a first-round pick in 2017, but they also had to pay him $18 million that season.

Bridgewater likely progressing along with having a first-round pick and an extra $18 million to spend in the offseason could have very well brought this team their first Super Bowl win. What would have made it that much sweeter is that it would have been in their own stadium. No team in history has won a Super Bowl in their own stadium. How great would that have been?

There are just so many what-ifs in this team’s history, which has made things tough for this fanbase for many years.

The Vikings have had good quarterback play from Bradford, Keenum, and Kirk Cousins since Bridgewater, but had he not been hurt he very likely would have still been their quarterback, which would have obviously meant they would not have had to keep scrambling for other ones.

Cousins has been good, but has not been worth both the original contract he received and the extension. He is also not the team’s long-term solution either at age 32. Bridgewater is 28.

Would Bridgewater have been elite like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Russell Wilson if not for the injury? Very unlikely, but still would have been very good. He has thrown 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 24 games (16 starts) since he was in Minnesota. Not bad for someone whose career could have been over and threw only two passes in his last two seasons in purple.

He very well could have been better than Cousins right now or perhaps just as good.

Either way, the Vikings chances of winning a Super Bowl in 2017 would have been higher with Bridgewater.

We will never know for sure what would have happened if he never had that horrific injury. It is certainly a very tough pill to swallow for many Vikings fans and Mike Zimmer who is still very fond of his former quarterback.

If fans were able to attend this Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, there is no doubt they would have given the quarterback a nice ovation. He is still beloved by many Minnesota Vikings fans.