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Bridgewater Focused on Leadership, Deep Passes During Offseason Practices

As he enters his third season in the NFL, Teddy Bridgewater is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title in 2015, Minnesota's first division crown since 2009.

He also made his first Pro Bowl after a 2015 season in which he threw for 3,132 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Substantial Stats

After an impressive debut in 2014, when he won Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, Bridgewater showed plenty of improvement last season. He increased his completion percentage (64.4 to 65.3), overall passer rating (85.2 to 88.7) and third-down passer rating (95.2 to 99.8).

Bridgewater is 17-11 as a starter, placing him in a tie with Warren Moon and Brett Favre for most wins in a player's first two seasons with the Vikings. Bridgewater reached 17 wins in fewer games than Moon or Favre.

Notable Quote

At 23 years old, the Vikings quarterback is developing into one of Minnesota's leaders, and his increased command of the huddle during offseason practices was a prime example of that.

"You walk in that huddle, and all 10 guys, eyes are on you, and it's silent. And talk about having total control, I love it," Bridgewater said in June. "I've been able to sit back and watch Chad Greenway, the way he leads the defense. Brian Robison, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph, those guys have command when they walk in those huddles.

"(My teammates) might be talking, but when I step foot in that huddle, it's all silent," he added. "They're all tuned in, and that's one thing I like about these guys. We all follow each other."

Coach's Corner

Vikings quarterbacks coach Scott Turner said Bridgewater focused on his technique and pushing the ball down the field during offseason practices.

Turner said he and Bridgewater have worked on small details that will hopefully turn into long gains.

"When you throw the ball down the field, a lot of it has to do with catch point," Turner said. "You're going to throw the ball to an area and you have to trust your receivers to get there.

"We really worked on identifying what those areas were, letting the ball go on time and putting the onus on the receiver to go make a play," he added. "We know those are lower-percentage plays … but when you do hit them, they are game changers."

The Depth Chart

Veteran Shaun Hill served as Bridgewater's backup in 2015, appearing in three games while completing two of seven passes for 15 yards. He is entering his 15th season in the league.

Taylor Heinicke didn't appear in any regular season games after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion University. The 23-year-old impressed during the 2015 preseason to make the roster.

The Vikings brought in another undrafted free agent this spring in Joel Stave. The former University of Wisconsin standout finished with a 31-10 record as a starter, giving him more wins than any other Wisconsin quarterback.* *

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