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Teammates Laud Teddy Bridgewater's Road to Recovery



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Teddy Bridgewater checked off another milestone on his journey back from a gruesome knee injury on Wednesday when he was officially added to the Vikings 53-man roster.

Bridgewater suffered a leg injury on Aug. 30, 2016, in a non-contact drill. He missed all of the 2016 season after throwing for 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading the Vikings to an 11-5 record and an NFC North title in 2015.

Bridgewater is scheduled to speak to the Twin Cities media on Thursday.

He was on the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin the season but began practicing three weeks ago. The Vikings had 21 days to decide on his roster status, and put him on the active roster Wednesday.

Minnesota created room on the roster by placing quarterback Sam Bradford on the Injured Reserve.

Bridgewater's teammates said earlier this week that they were elated for the 24-year-old to reach another step in his journey back.

"Obviously it's been great to have him out there," said Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. "He's such a great guy to have out there, telling us things that we need to work on.

"So whatever they decide to do and whatever he's going to be doing for us, moving forward it's going to be great just to have him around," Thielen added.

Added Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon: "That's a guy who's been through so much adversity and overcame a lot just to get back to this point to be able to practice. I think everyone is glad to have him back and see him back out there doing things effortlessly and being Teddy. Everyone is happy to have him back."

Bridgewater spoke with the media a few weeks ago and said he had focused on strengthening his upper body over the past 14 months of his rehab process.

Teammates have taken notice in practice, as Thielen and Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr both said they've noticed extra zip on Bridgewater's throws.

"Yeah, he's been throwing it well," Thielen said. "The great thing about Teddy is he's very good about understanding when to throw it in hard and when to take a little something off it, and when to give you a little air.

"He's really good about doing that," Thielen added. "So it's been fun to have him out there, like I said, just because he's really good at understanding what receivers like and what receivers don't like."

Added Barr: "He looks a little stronger. I think the ball is traveling a little faster, a little further."

While returning to practice was a major step in his return to football, Bridgewater said he has bigger goals for himself going forward, even while he keeps the same day-by-day approach he's used during his grueling rehab process.

"I definitely believe I'll play this year," Bridgewater said. "But I can't just sit here and say it, I have to put the work in on the practice field and show the training staff or the higher authority that eventually I can get back to the player who I was.

"Right now, I'm focused on practicing and being around the guys, interacting on the football field before I think about playing in live action," Bridgewater added.

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