The other big story, at least as far as the Vikings and their future going forward is concerned, is the fact that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got an opportunity to take the field for the first time since the 2016 preseason. Bridgewater suffered a gruesome injury to his knee thanks to a non-contact injury he suffered before the start of the 2016 regular season, and missed the entire 2016 season and the first half of this season as a result of it.
To say that the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium was enthusiastic when Bridgewater came in to relieve Case Keenum in a 34-0 game would be a huge understatement. But there’s something else from this video of yesterday’s events that bears watching, and it’s an important lesson that we could all probably stand to learn.
Now, I’m not afraid to tell you. . .if you didn’t feel chills or some other sort of emotion when you saw Bridgewater get back on the field after everything he’s been through to get back to this point, then you’ve got something wrong with you. Seriously, the guy damn near lost a leg, and now he’s back on an NFL field. Did he light up the stat sheet? No, he didn’t. (Even though you could reasonably argue both of his pass attempts should have been caught.) But he’s back, and that all by itself is awfully impressive.
There’s a larger point that I’m driving towards here, though. Did you see all of Bridgewater’s teammates on the sideline encouraging the crowd to get loud when Bridgewater took the field? Did you see who had the biggest smile and was every bit as enthusiastic as everyone else in purple on the sideline?
That’s right. Case Keenum.
That’s the point. Keenum supports Bridgewater. Bridgewater supports Keenum. At the beginning of the regular season, both of those guys supported Sam Bradford. And if, for some reason, the Vikings needed to play Kyle Sloter at quarterback, I have no doubt that all of those three guys would support him, too.
So why is everything on social media or message boards or our comments section about “Case lovers” or “Teddy lovers?” (Or significantly less savory/politically correct terms for each.) Do we not just want this team to be successful regardless of who’s behind center?
Do I have to remind everyone that it wasn’t that long ago that we were cheering a potential Super Bowl run being commanded by Brett freaking Favre? We can cheer for Brett freaking Favre but we feel the need to fight it out Thunderdome-style between Bridgewater and Keenum?
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a huge Teddy Bridgewater fan. In a perfect world, he never gets hurt and follows the trajectory he looked like he was ready to take in the 2016 preseason and we don’t have any sort of controversy at all. But that didn’t happen, so here we are. At the moment, “here” is sitting with a record of 11-3, having a playoff berth locked up, and holding the inside track to a first-round bye in this year’s playoffs. A large part of that has been the play of Case Keenum, who is having the season of his football life right now and, frankly, has earned the right to be the Vikings’ starting quarterback for the rest of this year, barring injury.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to prefer one quarterback over the other, whether it’s now or going forward. But, seriously, why the hostility?
Why can we all not be as happy for Teddy Bridgewater as Case Keenum is for Teddy Bridgewater?
Why can we all not be as supportive of Case Keenum as Teddy Bridgewater is of Case Keenum?
If it gets the Vikings to Super Bowl LII and gets them a championship, I honestly don’t give a damn who it is behind center. I just want them to get there. I would like to think that most fans of this franchise, particularly those that have been fans for as long as I have (or longer) would have the same mindset.