Holler: Bridgewater looks, acts the part

The Vikings put the time into researching Teddy Bridgewater and he is reciprocating by going overtime in his preparation. It's too early to know how it will all turn out, but so far it's a good, studious start.

As far as a first post-practice press conference goes, it was clear Teddy Bridgewater was saying the right things.

He had talking points to hit to deflect questions he didn't want to answer. Much as he has been lauded for his ability to pick up the Norv Turner offense, he was on point with his first in-uniform press conference.

While Bridgewater spends this weekend throwing passes to receivers who will have an uphill climb to making the final 53-man roster, he is getting a chance to give the coaching staff their first in-house film of Bridgewater as a Viking on the field and throwing to Minnesota receivers. For the record, on Friday, Bridgewater was wearing gloves, which has seemed to become a topic of endless debate.

A lot has been made about the amount of time the Vikings spent working out quarterbacks. No less than nine QBs were put through their paces, with the most time being spent with Bridgewater. If Teddy Football doesn't pan out as hoped – a thought no one wants to entertain at the initial stages of a quarterback's career – it won't be due to the lack of pre-draft preparation.

As we get farther away from the draft, the details of what the Vikings did pre-draft in their pursuit of a franchise QB has come into clearer focus. They had Johnny Manziel as the top QB on their draft board, but weren't willing to use the No. 8 (or No. 9) pick on Manziel. As a result, they all but guaranteed that he wouldn't end up in purple and gold, because, in order to have the ammunition to make the deal that Cleveland eventually made to land Manziel, it likely would have required the Vikings to give up their first-round pick next year – something general manager Rick Spielman was unwilling to do,.

Had the Vikings not been able to work out the deal they cut with Seattle that brought them Bridgewater, fans might be talking about new Vikings QB Derek Carr. Or Jimmy Garoppolo. Or Tom Savage. Or Zach Mettenberger. Or A.J. McCarron. One of them probably would have been brought in as the QB of the future.

Instead, the Vikings saw a value pick in Bridgewater that Norv and Scott Turner can help mold into a future NFL star. Bridgewater has all the tools to be a great NFL quarterback and his value matched up with what the Vikings had to give up to land him.

There was no shortage of film breakdown and due diligence done by Spielman, the scouting staff and the coaches when it came to the decision to pull the trigger on the Bridgewater draft selection. They did their homework. They made sure that they knew as much about their QB candidates – both on the field and off – before making the move, and they were comfortable with the idea that they can turn Bridgewater into a star.

The first steps in the process of bringing Bridgewater along is underway this weekend as Teddy is one of the few big names taking part in this weekend's rookie minicamp. By all accounts, he has been at Winter Park all hours of the day trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible to absorb the Vikings offense and translate the schemes and concepts onto the field.

Had the twists of draft fate taken Bridgewater away – which was a distinct possibility as the final picks of the first round came off the board – the Vikings would be having their rookie minicamp with a different quarterback and a different mindset.

But, in the end, they landed Bridgewater and are moving forward with a franchise-type player that they're convinced will be a star at the NFL level. The circus came to Cleveland with the selection of Manziel, but the Vikings may be the team that came away with the best pro prospect of the Class of 2014 and their pursuit of a franchise QB may have been answered.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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