We all know that the video that the Minnesota Vikings released of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on the field with his teammates on Tuesday started quite the buzz through the purple fan community. With updates on Bridgewater’s progress having been infrequent since his injury last August, it came as quite the surprise to see even a slow-motion video of #5 dropping back to pass in a “live action” situation.
Dr. David Chao, who goes by the handle ProFootballDoc on the Twitter machine, has an article on the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website about what the Bridgewater video represents as far as his rehabilitation is concerned. It’s a pretty comprehensive breakdown, and you should check out the whole thing, but I’ll hit a couple of the highlights here.
Chao takes a look at how Bridgewater set himself up to throw in the video, and notes that while it’s good to see him throwing again, he still has quite a ways to go. . .something I’m relatively certain that we all knew already.
In viewing the video, his left knee looks stiff as he plants, has a stomping gate that fails to dampen through the knee, does not flex/sit down with the knee as he sets to throw and does not fully shift weight to step into his throw on follow through. Footwork and balance are key for a quarterback and he is not there yet, but this is a good start. He will need to show more than this including lateral movement before being game ready.
Bridgewater has, apparently, gotten permission from doctors to begin moving from side-to-side as a part of his rehab, so I’m guessing that the “lateral movement” is something that’s going to start happening here very soon. Also, I think we all saw the weight shift, or lack thereof, in the video, and it’s not surprising. That’s also going to come with time, but we shouldn’t be surprised that it isn’t quite there yet.
He still will be more mobile than many quarterbacks, just not the same as before. It is likely, barring extreme improvement in the next two months, Bridgewater will start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and will need to make steady progress to play in ’17. He has a reasonable chance to become a top quarterback again, but it will be hard to become a premiere runner again.
I know that Dr. Chao probably doesn’t follow the Vikings super closely or anything, but Bridgewater’s never really been what you’d call a “premiere runner.” Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a running quarterback. . .he’s a quarterback that happens to be able to run a little bit, and that’s a significant difference. Bridgewater’s biggest positive in his first couple of seasons has been his ability to move more subtly inside the pocket, and if his leg is back to healthy again, I would have to think that would be back as well. He still might be able to take off on occasion for some extra yards, but that’s never been the biggest part of his game anyway.
That said, I still think that Dr. Chao has it right when he says that, even with what we saw in the video on Tuesday, that Teddy Bridgewater will likely be starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, and that he’ll remain there for the first six games of the regular season, giving the Vikings an opportunity to keep him around for the 2018 season. At that point, perhaps the Vikings will know more of what they want to do with Bridgewater and Sam Bradford.
Of course, since this is the Vikings, having Bridgewater and Bradford both healthy, ready, and able could just serve to make things that much more confusing. But at least, in that case, the issue would be with this team having two solid quarterbacks as opposed to having zero, which has been the issue in the past. We should be more than happy to have such an issue on our hands.