Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press
New Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Tuner was on local sports talk radio earlier this week, and while he didn't come right out and say that Matt Cassel would be the starting quarterback, he stated on The Paul Allen Show (via KFAN.com's AJ Mansour) that he thought Cassel was "getting himself ready to really have a good year."
Later in the interview, Turner said of Bridgewater, "Teddy's been really, really impressive and a lot further along then I expected him to be."
All of this begs the question above: Does Bridgewater have a chance to be the Vikings starting quarterback?
Unlike the coaching staff before them, who may or may not have been "encouraged" to start certain quarterbacks on certain occasions, Zimmer and Turner are both hugely respected, longtime coaches who you can be certain will always make player decisions based on what's best for the team.
While Matt Cassel will open camp as the starter, and he should; there is nothing written in stone that says Bridgewater can't beat him out for the job.
ESPN.com's Mike Sando recently talked to a group of NFL executives and had them rank the league's starting quarterbacks and Cassel came in 28th out of the 32 ranked (subscription required).
While that might not be a ringing endorsement, Cassel has certainly proved he can put up some good numbers when he has good players around him. Now 32 years old, Cassel played well enough last year to earn the right to start camp as the first-team quarterback.
Once again, that doesn't mean that Bridgewater can't beat him out.
You don't move up into the first round to take a quarterback that you don't think is ultimately going to be your starter. That said, the quarterback shouldn't just be given the job either.
Turner has been around NFL offenses long enough to know how these things work. All things being equal, Cassel will be the starting quarterback. But if Bridgewater proves that the team is simply better when he's at the helm, he'll get the nod.
Cassel's sample size at this point is big enough that the Vikings pretty much know what his ceiling is. If he's playing well, he can lead a team to plenty of victories. Bridgewater is obviously a rookie, and there will be a learning curve.
Bridgewater has always been a quick study, though, starting at a powerhouse high school in Miami as a sophomore and taking just three games as a freshman to become the starter at Louisville.
The Vikings will have a spirited competition at quarterback during training camp. How quickly Bridgewater can shake off the rookie mistakes, which will most surely come, will go a long way toward whether or not he can convince Zimmer and Turner that he deserves to start.
What Vikings fans can take heart in is that the Vikings coaches seem to be heading into camp with an open mind. Whoever plays the best will get the starting nod.