Teddy Bridgewater was at one point considered to be one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL just a few short years ago. He was the future of the Minnesota Vikings’ franchise, but a gruesome knee injury set his career back in a big way.
He was forced to miss the entire 2016 season due to the injury and was not cleared until late in 2017. While he did come back healthy late in the year, Case Keenum had already cemented himself as the starter. Bridgewater ended up receiving a small amount of playing time, completing neither of his pass attempts and throwing an interception.
Bridgewater has also talked about wanting to start in 2018 and fully expects to get that opportunity, as 247 Sports noted.
“I’m just going to continue focusing on becoming a better football player, attacking the offseason with the mindset of getting stronger and doing everything that I can to show that when the time comes, I’m ready to play football. The best thing about it is my dream gets to continue to come true — that I get to play football next year. I’m going to be playing football next year.”
Needless to say, the future is cloudy for Bridgewater. That being said, the Vikings should re-sign him and give him a chance to repeat with Keenum, who they will also need to re-sign when free agency opens up.
At just 25 years of age, Bridgewater still has plenty of time to get his career back on track. Back in 2015 as the full-time starter for the Vikings, he completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Those numbers show a small amount of the potential that Bridgewater had.
Looking ahead to 2018, it is very likely that the Vikings will re-sign Keenum. That would be the right move for the franchise as well, as he earned that right with the way he played in 2017.
Leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game makes Keenum the front-runner to start in 2018. Even with that being the case, the Vikings should still head into training camp and preseason action with an open quarterback competition.
So why should the Vikings do everything they can to re-sign both Keenum and Bridgewater and let them go into camp in an open competition for the starting job?
Keenum has had his issues with consistency throughout his career. He has bounced from team to team, with the only real sign of potential starting talent coming last season for the Vikings. If they go all-in with Keenum and he reverts back to that version of himself, the Vikings will be in big trouble.
On the other hand, Bridgewater is still the quarterback that once looked like the future in Minnesota. He may have gone through a rough knee injury, but there is still hope that he can get back to the level that he used to play at for the Vikings. If he can, Bridgewater is without question the better quarterback.
Minnesota is only a piece or two away from competing for a Super Bowl. They cannot afford to mess things up this offseason by throwing everything they have at one quarterback. There is also a chance that Bridgewater could improve the offense if he is able to resume where he left off before the knee injury.
Giving him a fair contract and allowing him the chance to compete for the starting job should be enough to convince the former rising star to return. Simply having the chance to play seems like the opportunity that Bridgewater wants.
Expect to see Bridgewater receive interest from quite a few different teams this offseason. There are multiple teams that would like to upgrade the quarterback position, while not spending a lot of money.
While he will receive interest, don’t be surprised to see the Vikings make a concerted effort to bring him back for 2018.