Bridgewater knows he will play again
MANKATO, MINN.» Minutes after Teddy Bridgewater’s left knee dislocated beneath him, the result of one bad step on a routine drop-back during practice nearly a year ago, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback was hustled into an ambulance.
Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman went with him. Bridgewater’s promising NFL career was hanging in the balance. The fate of his leg was too.
“I’m pretty sure both of us were pretty nervous about that conversation,” Bridgewater said Thursday in his first media address since the massive injury shook the franchise 331 days ago.
“I’m glad everyone reacted in a timely manner and we were able to save my leg, if that’s what you want to call it.”
Thanks to the quick work by Sugarman and his staff and the paramedics on the scene at Vikings headquarters that afternoon, Bridgewater avoided nerve and arterial damage that could have forced an amputation.
He still faced an arduous recovery from a torn ACL and other ligament damage that ended his third NFL season just 12 days before it was to begin.
“Just a play-action pass. I can’t even remember, it was so long ago, but I just remember being out there laying on the ground,” Bridgewater said as the Vikings held their first full-team practice of training camp.
“The biggest thing I remember was the guys supporting me. As I was out there on the ground, different guys came up, holding my hand, praying for me. It just says a lot about the character of the guys we have around here. I’m thankful to be a part of this team.”
The mystery now — after 11 months of rehabilitation that Bridgewater said has included no setbacks — is when he will actually play in a game again.
He has made so much progress, mostly logged through bread crumbs he’s left on social media and incrementally affirmed by public remarks from general manager Rick Spielman, coach Mike Zimmer and admiring teammates, that the “if” part of that question has essentially been eliminated.
“We don’t know when it’s going to happen,” Bridgewater said, “but for me, I know it’s going to happen.”
“You have your days where you don’t see the progress, but it’s a long process. I’m in it for the long haul, and I want to be the best version of Teddy that I can be,” he said.
Bridgewater is on the physically unable to perform list and will almost certainly start the season there. With Sam Bradford in place as the starting quarterback and Case Keenum added as an experienced backup, there won’t be much reason for the Vikings to rush him back this year.