Bridgewater suffers torn ACL
The Vikings’ starting QB faces ‘significant’ recovery time after a freak noncontact injury in practice.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings’ Super Bowl hopes took a significant hit Tuesday afternoon when starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a major knee injury and faces “significant” recovery time.
Bridgewater suffered a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will have surgery within the next few days.
The team’s head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman issued this statement: “Teddy Bridgewater suffered a noncontact injury today at practice. The injury was quickly identified as a dislocated knee. The injury was stabilized, and he was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment and evaluation. After undergoing an MRI, it was determined that Teddy suffered a complete tear to his ACL and other structural damage. Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage. Surgical repair will be scheduled within the next few days. Although the recovery time will be significant, we expect Teddy to make a full recovery. I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and our athletic training staff for all of their help today. Teddy has already displayed the attitude needed to overcome this injury and attack his rehab.”
About 25 minutes into practice, in the first team drill of the day, Bridgewater dropped back to pass and crumpled to the turf without being touched.
As Bridgewater clutched his left knee, linebacker Eric Kendricks and other teammates spiked helmets and shouted expletives. Some Vikings dropped to one knee in prayer or disbelief as athletic
ANDY CLAYTON-KING / ASSOCIATED PRESS Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) warms up before a preseason game against the Chargers this past Sunday in Minneapolis. Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and torn ACL in practice on Tuesday.
trainers rushed to the third-year quarterback.
Two minutes later, coach Mike Zimmer ended practice and sent his players inside. Running backs Adrian Peterson and Matt Asiata, guard Alex Boone, defensive end Brian Robison, cornerback Terence Newman and backup quarterback Shaun Hill lingered on the field, surrounding Bridgewater as the athletic trainers appeared to place an air cast on the quarterback’s left leg.
Soon, an ambulance pulled up to Winter Park with sirens blaring and whisked Bridgewater away.
Coach Mike Zimmer met with reporters two hours after Bridgewater went down and confirmed that the quarterback had suffered a “significant knee injury,” adding that he was sedated and getting an MRI at a hospital. Zimmer didn’t see the injury live, but after watching practice tape of the injury, he called it “a freaky deal.”
Asked if there is any chance Bridgewater will play this season, he said, “It doesn’t look good right now.”
The Vikings were expecting a breakout season from Bridgewater after two solid seasons in the NFL in which he completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 6,150 yards, 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, compiling an 87.0 career passer rating. In February, he played in his first Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.
Bridgewater’s strong play in training camp translated to the preseason, when he completed 18 of his 23 pass attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns. In Sunday’s 23-10 win over the San Diego Chargers at U.S. Bank Stadium, he showed no signs of the shoulder soreness that sidelined him for the second preseason game on Aug. 18 while throwing for 161 yards and a touchdown.
An emotional Zimmer said he had already reached out on the phone to his mentor, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, and spiritually to his late father, Bill, a longtime high school coach in Illinois. He also referenced the sudden death of his wife, Vikki, in 2009 when asked about
dealing with the “grief” of losing Bridgewater.
The resilient head coach vowed that the Vikings will keep fighting if their fears about Bridgewater’s injury come true and dared people to count them out.
“You know today is a disappointing day,” Zimmer said. “We’re not going to stick our heads in the sand. We’re not going to tuck our tail between our legs. We’re not looking for excuses. We’re going to go out and fight like we always do. We got some great football players on this team. We’ll figure ways to win football games if he’s not here and that’s what we’re going to do.”
For now, Zimmer and the Vikings must figure out how to win with Hill.
The 36-year-old was expected to be Bridgewater’s top backup heading into the regular season. Undrafted rookie Joel Stave was vying to make the 53-man roster as their third quarterback with second-year signal-caller Taylor Heinicke still on the non-football injury list after foot surgery in July.