EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Teddy Bridgewater is enjoying the ride.
The past 15 months have been a journey of recovery for the quarterback since he suffered a devastating knee injury during the 2016 preseason, and in the past several weeks he has taken significant steps toward returning to the gridiron.
At Washington last week, Bridgewater was active in a non-exhibition game for the first time in more than 670 days. He took it all in, becoming emotional on the sideline.
"Usually when you have a dream, when you wake up and go back to sleep, you can't pick up where that dream left off … But I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pick up right where my dream left off," Bridgewater said. "So putting on those cleats, putting on those pads in the first time in a while, it was just great, a great feeling. I'm just happy."
This week at U.S. Bank Stadium will mark the second game in which he fills a backup role behind Case Keenum, and Bridgewater had nothing but a positive response.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time. Continue to be a great teammate, motivate the guys," Bridgewater told Twin Cities media members on Thursday. "We're playing great football right now – what else could you ask for?"
The Vikings currently are leading the NFC North after their fifth straight win to move to 7-2 on the season. Keenum was 21-of-29 for 304 yards and four touchdowns in addition to a pair of interceptions that came in the second half.
Bridgewater spoke highly of Keenum, who was named this week's starter by Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday.
"Case is doing a great job," Bridgewater said. "He's competing, he's doing everything that the coaching staff is asking of him, and I couldn't be any happier for him.
"[For] now, I'm excited watching Case light up the scoreboard. Four touchdowns last week, that's very impressive, especially on the road," Bridgewater later added. "So I'm very excited, excited to be a part of this offense, excited to be in the quarterback room that I'm in."
Keenum has mentioned on multiple occasions that Bridgewater has been extremely helpful, whether in the meeting room, at practice or on the sidelines.
According to Bridgewater, the two quarterbacks' main goal is to help each other be the best they can be.
"Whoever's in there, our goal is to push each other. Case is in there, and I'm going to do whatever I can to push him – whether it's being a second pair of eyes for him on the sideline or in the film room or on the practice field," Bridgewater said. "That's what I want to do, because at the end of the day, it's about making this team better. And if we're having solid quarterback play from that position, then obviously the team's doing something well."
Bridgewater may not be in the game, but he explained that he continues to mentally work through each play from the sideline.
"I feel like I'm out there," he said. "I'm taking mental reps, sharpening my game from a mental standpoint. We're playing good football on offense, good football on defense, all three phases. For me, it's all about being patient, continuing to just trust the process and standing behind whoever's in there."
Bridgewater said he "trusts the process" of returning to the field.
On Sunday, his main focus will be standing alongside his teammates and helping his team get another win.
"This isn't about me. It's about us," Bridgewater said. "We're sitting in a good position right now, pushing for the playoffs, hopefully home-field advantage or something like that. So we can't take the attention away from that. We're playing great football, and I pray that we can continue to just keep getting better.
"We have a great group of guys, we're doing everything that the coaching staff is asking, and it's showing," Bridgewater added. "Those guys are flying around making plays, and it's exciting, being on the sideline watching those guys perform a high level."