We've got some more pre-season analysis for you, and I can't imagine that too many fans of the Minnesota Vikings are going to be too enamored with this latest installment of list-a-mania.
Andy Benoit of SI.com's MMQB site has compiled his rankings of the 32 starting quarterbacks going into the season, and young Teddy Bridgewater is. . .well, he's pretty low on the list. Of the 32 starting quarterbacks, he has Bridgewater at #23.
Here's what Benoit had to say in his limited commentary about Bridgewater, and it's hard to disagree with what he says.
Was tightly managed last season before showing extremely encouraging signs down the stretch. The Vikings think they have their guy. Loosen the leash and let's find out.
The reason that Bridgewater was "tightly managed" last season is two-fold. First of all, he wasn't supposed to be managed at all last year, at least on the field in the regular season. The plan was to have him sit for a year (possibly two) and learn from Matt Cassel. (Even though, let's face it, who's going to learn anything from Matt Cassel?) Of course, after nine quarters of football in the 2014 season, that plan went out the window as Cassel broke his foot and Bridgewater got tossed into the fire.
(Incidentally, Cassel is ranked #32 out of 32 on Benoit's list. Thanks for the free fifth-round pick, Buffalo.)
The second reason is that, well, there was a whole lot of turnover going on around Bridgewater personnel-wise last season. Aside from the Adrian Peterson issue, the offensive line was shifting, the receivers were still working to get chemistry with Bridgewater, and Bridgewater was still getting comfortable in the Norv Turner system of offense. As Benoit points out, he did get significantly better near the end of last season, and with Peterson's return, all of the signs are pointing to him having a much bigger season in 2015.
Some of the quarterbacks that were ranked ahead of Bridgewater are ones that I have a hard time agreeing with. Guys like Sam Bradford (who could be great if he could stay healthy for ten minutes), Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Derek Carr (who is not better than Teddy Bridgewater, I don't care how many people jump up and down and try to convince anyone that he is), Alex Smith (the guy that didn't throw a single TD pass to a wide receiver in 2014) and Jay Cutler (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) are above Bridgewater on the list. I know that, as Vikings fans, we're pretty biased towards Bridgewater and think he's on course for some pretty big things, but still. . .how many of those guys would you trade #5 straight up for?
Teddy Bridgewater has some people to convince going into the 2015 NFL season. I don't think he'll need to convince nearly as many going into the 2016 season.