Once upon a time in Minnesota, there was a guy named Teddy Bridgewater. He led the Vikings to an NFC North title in his first full season as the starter, took them within 27 yards of winning a playoff game...and everything after that has been censored due to traumatic memories.
That was the first weekend of 2016. Three seasons later, Bridgewater is preparing to make his first meaningful NFL start since that frigid afternoon in Minneapolis, but as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater is filling in for the injured Drew Brees, who’s expected to miss about six weeks. In other words, Bridgewater is finally getting his chance to prove he can be the player he was before the catastrophic leg injury that cost him so much.
The Vikings have long since moved on. They spent their money elsewhere, choosing Kirk Cousins over Bridgewater, Case Keenum and Sam Bradford (oh, and Kyle Sloter).
There’s a group of Vikings fans who believe Rick Spielman made a huge mistake letting Bridgewater go. There’s a group who disagrees. Regardless, I expect and hope that most Vikings fans are happy to see Bridgewater back playing meaningful football.
That doesn’t mean anyone should be rooting for Bridgewater to be good and Cousins to be bad so we can justify our point that letting him go was a mistake. I’ll never understand the Vikings fans who seem to consistently root against the Vikings. If you’re a fan of a team, root for the players on the team.
Consider: if tomorrow the Vikings signed Christian Ponder and named him their starting QB, I would be very disappointed because, well, I don’t really need to explain that. But on Sunday, I’d put everything I have into rooting for him to succeed.
So stop rooting against the Vikings if you’re a Vikings fan. That doesn’t make any sense.
I look at Teddy Bridgewater in pretty much the same way I look at Ricky Rubio. When Rubio left, I understood why, but like many Timberwolves fans I was devastated. And I have and will root for him against any team but the Wolves. That doesn’t mean I root against Jeff Teague, though, even if it’s sometimes incredibly frustrating to do so.
But let’s get back to it. I’m a huge Teddy Bridgewater fan. I still wear my #5 jersey whenever I get to a Vikings game. I’m so excited he’s finally back, especially given all the stuff he had to get through just to make it to this point. His purpose truly will not be denied.
So I really hope he plays well. I’ll be rooting for him every step of the way. But I’ll still be rooting harder for the Vikings, and I won’t be rooting against Kirk Cousins so I can justify some kind of hindsight argument.
If you want to root against him because he’s on another team, I get it. Most Vikings fans don’t exactly love the Saints, and they could easily be competing for a playoff spot with the Vikings.
Just don’t make it into a mega-argument about Teddy Bridgewater and Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum and Sam Bradford and 27-yard field goals and curses and all that. We’ve already done enough of that.
Let’s just be happy for Teddy Bridgewater.