As most of Minnesota finally saw mid-day Tuesday, Teddy Bridgewater is in fact capable of not only standing and walking, but of throwing a football as well. According to some news reports at the outset of his devastating knee/leg injury back before last season pointed out and comments by head coach Mike Zimmer explained a bit yesterday, that was very close to not being a reality. Bridgewater’s leg knee and lower leg dislocated from his upper leg, which is apparently no fun to be a part of (for anyone). Obviously for Bridgewater this was extremely painful, but the reaction of other players on the field was what was the most startling (As it explained how severe and rare his injury was in the sport) as some players threw their helmets, others prayed and reportedly some even vomited on the field.
Because of the severity and relative unprecedented nature mixed with the Vikings brass’ tendency to play injury news tight to the chest/vest and the one surprise out of this thing is the fact that we as writers/fans we were really unaware of where Bridgewater was in his recovery up until this week, save for a few people seeing him walking around the locker room and some unreliable comments from the Vikings staff. So, when video was released by Bridgewater himself in a video titled ‘Spring Cleaning’, Vikings fandom rejoiced, as just the night before Zimmer had said that Bridgewater was still mostly doing pool rehab.
Again, things almost didn’t end up this way and Zimmer knows it. He thanked head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman in a press conference yesterday for essentially saving Teddy’s career and status as a bipedal human, saying (To many reporters but I read it on Scout.com):
“It could have been really, really bad, Eric Sugarman did an unbelievable job of possibly saving this guy’s career and maybe saving his leg.”
He also added that:
Zimmer on Sugarman: "Teddy should be his friend for life."
— Mark Craig (@markcraignfl) March 29, 2017
Beyond the injury, Zimmer reiterated his love for the young quarterback, saying:
“I saw Teddy in the training room a week or so ago. He’s in great spirits, working hard, doing all the things necessary. There’s no timetable. I keep getting asked these questions but when he’s ready, he’s ready.”
“He’s getting to where his range of motion is good, he’s starting to move more, strengthening the leg,” Zimmer said, according to a report by ESPN on the same press conference. “It was a rough injury. I’m sure there’s more land work he’s going to do.”
When asked if he trusts Bridgewater to follow rehab while in Miami, Zimmer said, “100 percent.”
And while the video may have raised some hopes for a 2017 return, Zimmer reiterated that the lack of a timetable still returns for an injury that really wildly varies from case to case and that the league hasn’t really seen a ton of. So, the question remains; What do the Vikings plans for a back-up quarterback for at least the beginning of the 2017 season? Seeing that they currently only have two healthy players in Sam Bradford and Taylor Heinicke on their roster, it’s clearly something that they need to address before long.
“I’m sure we’re going to get something done there.” Zimmer said.
That “Something” is looking like it’ll occur in next month’s draft, but considering how encouraging Bridgewater’s video was (It’s better than jogging in place in a pool) they may be able to bring veteran Shaun Hill back for one more year (if that), really it depends on whether or not they believe Heinicke has reached his end as a project or has reached the level of perennial back-up. His self-inflicted injury probably doesn’t help his cause for the latter. Either way, it was great to see Teddy back on the field, throwing the ball again, even if it was in shorts at the end of March. But considering where he could’ve ended up, that’s really all any of us could ask for.