Fans of the Minnesota Vikings are used to the team having issues at the quarterback position. People that write about the Minnesota Vikings are used to the team having issues at the quarterback position. The Vikings have had problems at the quarterback position since right around the time of Fran Tarkenton's retirement, the occasional odd season not withstanding.
However, it appears as though the Minnesota Vikings have actually found someone that could be the long-term answer at the quarterback position in the person of one Theodore Edmond Bridgewater II. . .but you can call him Teddy. Now, I know that some of you have seen this sort of thing before and may be a little hesitant to buy in at this point. If you are unsure about whether or not you should drink the proverbial Kool-Aid at this point, allow me to serve as your Jim Jones.
(Only there's no poison in this Kool-Aid. No, seriously. I wouldn't do that to you. And, in case you haven't noticed, there isn't any actual Kool-Aid involved here. It's an expression. Let's just move on, okay?)
But yeah, I'm kind of excited about the prospect of Teddy Bridgewater being this team's quarterback going forward, and damn it all, you should be, too. Let's go over all of the stats that you've probably seen floating around the internet over the past few days and put them all in one place for you.
By just about any measure, Bridgewater had an incredibly strong finish to the regular season.
-He threw at least one touchdown pass in each of his final 10 games this season, which is the second-longest active streak in the NFL.
-Over the final five games of the season, he had the second-highest quarterback rating, using the traditional measurement, in the National Football League. Bridgewater's quarterback rating of 103.0 over the season's final five weeks trailed only Tony Romo (117.1). He also finished second to Romo in Pro Football Focus' QB rating formula (99.6 for Romo, 97.5 for Bridgewater).
-Over the final five games of the season, Bridgewater tied Romo for the highest completion percentage in the National Football League (72.1%).
-Bridgewater averaged 8.8 yards/attempt over the final five weeks of the season, a figure that trailed only Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks over that time (9.0).
-For all the talk about Bridgewater's issues with the "deep ball," Pro Football Focus had his accuracy percentage (which adjusts for drops) on passes traveling 20 yards or more at 10th-best in the NFL at 46.3%. For a little perspective on that, only six quarterbacks fared better than 50% on passes of that length. Bridgewater had five touchdowns and three interceptions on passes of that length.
-Speaking of Accuracy Percentage, here's PFF's formula for it again:
Accuracy Percentage = ((Completions + Drops) / (Attempts - Throw Aways - Spikes - Batted Passes - Hit As Thrown))
-Bridgewater's Accuracy Percentage of 77.3% this past season was the third-highest in the National Football League, trailing only Drew Brees (80.2%) and Alex Smith (79.8%). But what's even more impressive is Bridgewater's Accuracy Percentage under pressure.
According to PFF, Bridgewater was "under pressure" on 189 of his 474 dropbacks this season, or 39.9%. That was the fourth-highest total in the NFL behind Wilson (46.0%), Josh McCown (43.1%), and Geno Smith (40.1%).
Despite that, Bridgewater's Accuracy Percentage while under pressure was not far off of his overall Accuracy Percentage. Bridgewater had an Accuracy Percentage under pressure of 75.2%, a drop-off of only 2.1%. Let's contrast that against some of the NFL's top quarterbacks, shall we?
|Quarterback||Accuracy %||Accuracy % Under Pressure||Drop-Off|
Teddy Bridgewater has all of 13 NFL games (and 12 NFL starts) under his belt, and the numbers from PFF show what anyone that's actually watched him this season already knows. . .that he already handles pressure like a seasoned veteran. And he's only going to improve.
As we've pointed out on numerous occasions, the offense was basically falling apart around Bridgewater this season, thanks to injuries and suspensions and Jerome Simpson and whatever else the football powers that be decided to throw at the Minnesota Vikings this season. After a couple of rough outings against Detroit and Buffalo, Bridgewater played really good football, for the most part. Lest anyone think I was "cherry picking" by focusing on Bridgewater's final five starts, if we look at his final nine starts (going back to the game at Tampa Bay), Bridgewater was the 8th-highest rated quarterback by PFF's QB rating scale at 91.26. That placed him ahead of guys like Wilson (87.72), Peyton Manning (86.99), Luck (85.08), and Rivers (82.30) over that stretch. Bridgewater was 11th in the NFL over that stretch by the more traditional QB rating formula at 92.2 over that time period.
Seriously, if Teddy Bridgewater had even a trace of arrogance in him anywhere, he could probably be justified in doing something like this:
Because, honestly, if you're not entertained, then why are you not entertained? Are you some Viking-hating jerk that would dump on Teddy Bridgewater if he threw for 6,000 yards with 40 touchdowns and no interceptions? (Because if that's the case. . .well, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but you're kind of dumb like that. And you're probably in the wrong place.) Are you still hung up on Johnny (Arena) Football? Are you one of the many that thought it was wise to put more stock into one Pro Day workout than into three seasons worth of game film?
The Minnesota Vikings are lucky to have Teddy Bridgewater. He made a season that could have wound up being utterly awful thoroughly entertaining and gave fans of this team a ton of hope going forward. He's the new face of Minnesota Vikings football, whether anyone likes it or not, and I know that I can't wait to see where he leads this team in the future.
And what a great future it's going to be. Because of Teddy Bridgewater.