EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Less than 24 hours after getting eliminated from the playoffs,
The Vikings second-year quarterback expressed disappointment that his season was over after a single playoff game.
But Bridgewater also said he felt an immense amount of pride in a season that highlighted by the Vikings winning their first NFC North crown since 2009.
“It was a great run this year, and I’m very proud of this team,” Bridgewater said. “We came up just short. We reached a bunch of our goals this year but we didn’t get all of them.”
A starter for all 16 games plus the playoff contest, Bridgewater said he made noticeable improvements from his rookie season.
The 2014 first-round pick threw for 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also improved on his completion percentage and quarterback rating, and cut down on his interceptions from his rookie year.
Yet Bridgewater said he has more in store next season, his third year in the league.
“Now it’s time to take that extra step,” Bridgewater said. “Just having that same focus and intensity … being a great leader around this locker room and with the coaching staff.”
Bridgewater said he’ll likely speak up a little more next season.
“That’s something that I’ll continue to work on,” Bridgewater said. “The guys know that I’m a genuine guy when I do say something and that it speaks volumes.
“I’m in a position right now where I get to lead a group of men in this locker room. I’m glad to be in this position.”
Bridgewater also wants to take a few more shots down the field if possible.
“Just being more aggressive, I’m going to spend some time watching the tape … watching all the pass plays and all the run plays and just critiquing myself,” Bridgewater said. “There are little things that I could do better.”
Bridgewater said he’s going to try and get the offense together in the offseason to continue to build their chemistry.
And although there was still a bitter taste from Sunday’s 10-9 loss to Seattle in the Wild Card round, there was also plenty to be excited about for 2016.
“I think there was a foundation that was laid this year,” Bridgewater said. “That’s something we want to continue to build on.”