Once a consensus No. 1 pick, Bridgewater underwent a predraft free fall following a lackluster pro day that featured him missing open receivers several times. His tumble landed him at pick No. 32, where the Vikings selected him to be the team’s franchise quarterback.
First-year coach Mike Zimmer made it clear in June that there will be an open competition for the starting job under center during training camp.
“I want to give everybody an opportunity and make sure it’s a legitimate opportunity for all of them and start narrowing down the reps as we get going,” Zimmer told reporters. “The thing I want to guard against most is rushing into a decision where we make a decision quickly as opposed to making the correct decision.”
The open competition provides the Louisville product with the opportunity to prove that his pro day was an aberration and that he can grow into a better signal-caller than his fellow first-round quarterbacks, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.
“It’s good to know that your coach thinks that highly of you,” Bridgewater said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “But for me, I still have to just go out and prove my worth. That’s something I’ve been learning since training camp started. This is a job. It’s no longer a game.”
Specifically, Bridgewater must show stronger accuracy than he did during his pro day, when the timing of his throws was off and some of the balls wobbled into the hands of his receivers.
To that end, he seems to be doing well. On Monday’s 11-on-11 drills, Bridgewater went 12-of-13, with the only incompletion being a drop. Former general manager Charley Casserly even went as far as saying that Bridgewater looked good enough during Wednesday’s practice to start immediately, noting his good vision and accuracy with the football.
All eyes in Mankato are on Bridgewater to see if he can win the starting nod over Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder and show that he can be the Vikings’ future at quarterback.