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Emotions Run Strong on Sideline for Teddy Bridgewater

The emotions were too strong.

Teddy Bridgewater couldn't contain the "tears of joy."

Yes, he was slated to be the Vikings backup quarterback to Case Keenum on Sunday in Washington, but being active for an NFL game was another major milestone in a feel-good comeback story.

Bridgewater shed tears from the sideline before the opening kickoff.

"I was trying to keep it together," the normally chill quarterback said. "It's just opportunities like these don't come around twice, so when you get that second opportunity, you cherish it, hold it and never want to let it go, so today, God blessed me.

"I'm proud of myself, proud of the team that worked with me, the training staff, the strength and conditioning staff, people down in Miami, the community in Miami, they were behind me, family, friends, these guys in this locker room," Bridgewater added. "Everyone had a part in me getting here."

Sunday was the 673rd day since he last was active in a non-exhibition contest (Wild Card game versus Seattle on Jan. 10, 2016).

"Teddy has worked extremely hard to get back to this spot, and it was good to see him out there," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "This is another step in the process for him."

Bridgewater savored every moment of the day, from the bus ride from the hotel to FedExField, to lacing up his cleats and warming up. He buried his head in a towel when the emotions reached their peak.

"Just running out of that locker room, being able to stand next to those guys on the sideline for the National Anthem, it just all boiled up," Bridgewater explained. "I kind of screamed a little on the sideline after I said my prayer in the end zone. Then when I got on the sideline, I was like, 'Man, this is really about to happen.' Today was a great moment for my personal life, but it was even a better moment for this team. They got out there and competed, and we won a big game we needed to win on the road."

The enjoyment continued as Keenum threw a career-high four touchdowns to **help the Vikings win 38-30*** *and improve to 7-2 on the year. 

Bridgewater has many admirers, but Keenum is one of the closest.

Keenum has worked with Bridgewater since signing with the Vikings this offseason. He learned about Vikings teammates from the 2014 first-round pick.

Keenum also has seen Bridgewater continue grueling rehab of a knee that was cruelly dislocated in a non-contact drill during an Aug. 30, 2016, practice.

Keenum started for the seventh time on Sunday, improving to 5-2 when opening. He also played a critical relief role at Chicago in Week 5 when Sam Bradford re-aggravated a knee injury.

"He's a fan favorite. He's my favorite, too. I may have a Teddy Bridgewater jersey at home," Keenum said. "He's a great dude and a great teammate.

"I told somebody on the field that Teddy definitely raises the cool factor of the quarterback group tremendously," Keenum continued. "With that being said, on the field, he's another set of eyes, and it's great to have him with feedback and know what's going on. He's another set of eyes on the defense and being able to talk about certain things, whether it's protections, routes or coverages. He does a great job, and he's a great team player. Great teammate. And like I said, I'm a big fan of Teddy Bridgewater."

The admiration is mutual.

Bridgewater has been able to sit in meetings with Keenum, rookie Kyle Sloter and Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski. Bridgewater said he's impressed by Keenum's fire and his level of preparation.

"Case is awesome. He's the ultimate competitor, fights hard, has great energy, is what you want in a quarterback," Bridgewater said. "To go out there and lead those guys to victory is very impressive.

"Case did a great job of studying this week," Bridgewater added. "He's been doing a great job since he's been here. He's one of those guys that's around the facility from sunup to sundown, he's one of the last guys to leave the facility. When you put the time in like he does, you've get nothing but good results." 

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