The Vikings waited until the final pick of the first round to add quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to their roster, but they aren’t going to wait any longer than necessary to install him as the team’s starter.
That was the message from coach Mike Zimmer when asked about the team’s plans for the rookie. Bridgewater will compete with Matt Cassel (and perhaps Christian Ponder) for the job and Zimmer said that the rookie will have a chance to show he’s ready to be the man from the first week. And, as you’d expect after they traded back into the first round to get him, the Vikings would prefer that Bridgewater prove to be the best option.
“Teddy will play when we feel like he’s ready, if he’s the best guy, which we hope that he will be,” Zimmer said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We always want to have competition.”
Bridgewater said his expectation is “to show that I can compete at a high level and lead this team” and his readiness for NFL work was one of his biggest selling points even when his stock started dropping between the end of the college season and the draft. The vets don’t have much of a leg up as they are learning a new offense as well and the Vikings are well aware of the shortcomings of the other options after watching them in 2013.
We’ve seen similar competitions in the past and the trend in recent years has been for the highly drafted rookie to wind up beating out their veteran competition by the time the regular season rolls around. After all, it’s pretty easy to find a player to be the best in a competition when you want him to be the best and that bodes well for Bridgewater’s chances.