Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
It's great to be back out here. The best part of my day is getting to see you all again. We got some high school teams out here and it's great to them out at the walkthrough today. Some of my best memories are from high school football days and it's great. You build friendships and brotherhoods on the high school level. It's good to see some of these guys out here supporting the Vikings. You know we're excited to be able to o open the gates down at U.S. Bank Stadium. We're excited! I can't wait to get out there in front of the fans.
Q: What did you tell the kids?
A: I wished them all good luck this year. We had a couple of quarterbacks out here who are battling, senior quarterbacks. I told them, 'Hey competition makes the team better.' So it's great whenever you can give advice to those guys, you know guys who look up to you and the Vikings. It means a lot to us.
Q: How will playing inside be an advantage?
A: Well you don't have to worry about any wind factors or anything like that. I think it's a set temperature every time you play indoors, so it's going to be great. Also, just having the fans there. You get to close and encase all of the noise and the fans are passionate about football here. We want to give them something to root for, so having their support I think it's going to be a huge advantage for us.
Q: Considering that you've had some of your better games outdoors. What's the downside of playing indoors?
A: I think I've only played indoors three or four times I believe. It's hard to draw a comparison off of that. Like I said we're excited to open a new stadium and to give our fans something to root for. It's going to be fun.
Q: Do you expect to play on Sunday?
A: Of course.
Q: How do you feel physically?
A: I feel good. I feel very good.
Q: Was there a set plan at the beginning of the week or did that change day-by-day?
A: That's a question I think Coach Zimmer could answer better than I could.
Q: Does it surprise you that people go crazy over the deep ball passing plays?
A: It's just all about staying within the offense. We call those plays and when the opportunity presents itself we have to hit them. It is great to hit a couple. Like you said the fans do go crazy when they see those deep passes completed. They're crowd pleasers and you want to make sure you hit them. Also, they're opportunities that can change the tempo of the game. It gives us a competitive edge being able to be balanced and do different things.
Q: Is playing in two preseason games enough?
A: Honestly, when you factor in all the meetings, practices and we had the joint practices with Cincinnati then the preseason games I think I've been able to get some good things done. Every time I go out there whether it's in the meeting room, practice field or in a game I'm taking something away from it. It's another opportunity to get better and gain more knowledge. We've been maximizing and taking advantage of those opportunities.
Q: Was the shoulder issue lingering or did it pop up?
A: I think that's something that have to talk to Coach Zimmer about and I think he can answer that question better than me.
Q: Can you do everything you want to do physically?
A: That's another question that you're going to have to talk to Coach Zimmer about.
Q: Are you going to throw the deep drills in practice today?
A: If you stick around for practice, you may be able to see. But who knows what's ahead of us for practice today? I know yesterday the guys came out, we flew around and pitched the ball down the field. Did you see Cordarrelle (Patterson) yesterday make two plays down the field? The guys are doing a great job of just coming out and making plays for us to stretch the field.
Q: You can't let Shaun Hill outshine you by throwing the deep balls in practice.
A: It's all about making the team better. Every way we can make the team better, it's going to benefit the Vikings.
Q: How can you improve over the next few weeks?
A: There's a ton of things that we can continue to get better at. Every day we come here we want to approach each day with our thinking caps on, our hard hats on and just tell ourselves, 'Man, what can we get better at?' That's our mindset around here. There's a ton of things that we can get better at. We're going to continue to work. We still have two preseason games left and then we have the week, the first week of college football where we don't play any games. We have time to just prepare ourselves. We know all this that we're doing right now is to prepare us for Tennessee so we're going to take advantage of these days that we have ahead of us.
Q: Have you seen a difference in the offensive line in practice recently?
A: The thing about those guys is they're passionate about what they do. You add their passion with their talents and intelligence and it makes them unbelievable. You watch those guys in practice and they're doing things, got one guy blocking three guys. You put the game tape on and you see Alex Boone blocking three guys at one time in a game. You see John Sullivan out there going against the Seattle Seahawks defensive line. Those guys are doing a great job of just being pros. Each day they come here they try to get better.
Q: What's the difference for you now that John Sullivan is back?
A: Sully, he's a smart guy. All of those guys up front they motivate each other, they challenge each other, and they push each other. Whether it's Sully, [Alex] Boone, [Matt] Kalil, Joe Berger, Andre [Smith], [Brandon] Fusco – whoever is in there. Those guys are doing a great job of just communicating and executing.
Q: So you're saying it's the same, no comfort level?
A: It's never the same. Having John Sullivan healthy, that's the biggest thing. He's able to provide another set of eyes out there for the quarterback. He sees things from an offensive lineman standpoint but he also thinks like a quarterback so having him out there is great.
Q: How was it seeing Rhett Ellison back at practice?
A: Man, I was so excited to see Rhett out there yesterday, I think all the guys were. Everyone recognizes how hard Rhett works and everyone understands what he's been through. To have him back out there, it's just great to see him out there.
Q: What will you try to get out of practice today?
A: Every day I try to work on just coming out and setting the tempo at practice. I feel like as the quarterback goes, the team goes. Whether it's trying to set the tempo, working on my drops in the pocket - not getting too deep, getting the ball out fast - not testing protection. Each day I come up with a different plan. Today I'll go inside and look at the practice script and say, 'Hey, these are some of the things I want to work on.' We have these plays called, make sure I'm doing this correctly, doing this properly.
Q: Did you have arm soreness in high school or college?
Q: What are the conversations like with Mike Zimmer regarding playing or not playing?
A: I think that's a conversation you should have with Coach Zimmer to see what those conversations are like.
Q: Did you know much about Brad Sorensen before he was signed?
A: I got the chance to meet him when we signed him. He's come in and he's been a pro. He's been trying to learn the offense and it's not an easy offense to learn. He's been doing a great job of just sitting in the meetings, listening, and taking great notes.
Q: Is he going to give you some inside info on the Chargers?
A: I plan on asking him.
*Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner *
Q: How does Teddy Bridgewater look to you? He was just giving us his appraisal. How does he look to you?
A: I thought Teddy was really sharp in practice yesterday – very accurate, made quick decisions, very decisive with the ball.
Q: Is there a plan to ease him in this week in terms of practice, seeing him throw farther and farther each day perhaps?
A: I think you asked Teddy, and I think Teddy told you to ask Coach (Zimmer). So, I'll just stick with the company line. We're getting Teddy ready to play this week, and we'll see how the week goes.
Q: Do you like what you've seen from him? Can you give a third-year progress report on where he's at right now?
A: To me, it all ties together, and I think he has made progress. But, I think all the guys around him have made progress. As you said, it's the third year in the system. These guys have been together long enough where we have a chance to grow in that area, and that's our intention. So, the one thing about it – and Coach (Zimmer) talked to the entire team about it – this is a team game, and everybody is dependent on the other 10 guys on the field. We're trying to get everyone on the same page. We've worked hard to help our protection. We're working really hard in the running game, to continue to grow in that area. I see the whole group developing, and obviously for us to get where we need to be, is your question, I think Teddy's continuing to grow in this system.
Q: What do you want to see from Brandon Fusco, now that he's healthy and potentially making that return to the right side?
A: Brandon came back – he missed a few practices. He came back, and I thought he has had good practices. So, he's back at right guard, and I think what we're doing in the run fits him. So, we expect him to have, really, a good year.
Q: Does that change in terms of what you're doing in the run?
A: It's not change. We're trying to grow in that area. The core runs that Adrian (Peterson) does, we need to continue to execute those, but we're trying to grow, so we're not as one dimensional in the running game and give defenses some other things to defend.
Q: How big of a challenge has it been with T.J. Clemmings working at right tackle, left tackle and just trying to figure out where his best spot is?
A: I think it's a real challenge for a young player, and I've been impressed with the way he handles it. We know he made progress as a right tackle last year. He gets thrown over to the left side, and when he has played there of an extended period of time, he continues to grow. But, someone has to be the swing tackle. Every team in the league has to have a guy that can play right and left (tackle), and he's capable of doing both for us. I think he's making progress and becoming the type of player that can play both.* *
Q: Is it quickness? Is that the biggest challenge being a converted right tackle moving over to the left side?
A: His athletic ability, to me, it doesn't change, right or left. And nowadays, a lot of people are putting their best rusher on the offense's right. The biggest thing is everything's flipped, and you get used to playing with your right foot back and punching with your left hand and doing all the things you do on the right. Then, all of the sudden, you go to the left side, and everything's the same but just opposite. So, you just have to hit that switch and understand that it's on the left side, and it's going to be totally different.
Q: Regarding Brandon Fusco, he had said last year that he didn't feel really up to par physically strength-wise. What have you seen from him this summer?
A: He really looks good to me. He has missed a few days, but as I said, when he came back, he looks real good.
Q: Do you know how much Teddy Bridgewater will play on Sunday?
A: Coach (Zimmer) hasn't decided that yet. Like I said, we're getting him ready to practice to prepare for the game, and then Coach will make that decision: No. 1, if he's going to play, No. 2, how much he's going to play.
Q: Is the hope that he'll have no limitations by Sunday?
A: I didn't see any limitations yesterday when he played. He threw all the passes that we need him to throw, and as I said, was extremely accurate yesterday.
Q: Is there a difference for you this year having three guys who used to be head coaches, including yourself, now on the offensive side. Have you seen the experience make a difference, or is it different for you?
A: I don't think the fact that any of us were head coaches is a factor in terms of what we're doing. We brought in two very experienced coaches (Tony Sparano and Pat Shurmur). I've always said this from the day I was here, it's a group effort, and we're always leaning on each other in our meetings to come up with the best possible look we can give. And then ultimately, you have to make decision on what you're going to do, when you're going to do it and those type of things. I think it just gives you another group of ideas, experience, evaluations. It has really been good.
Q: How nice was it to get Rhett Ellison back out on the practice field yesterday?
A: It was fun having him out there yesterday, because he is all energy, and I don't care what anyone says about the ability that our team has or whatever; it's about coming out and practicing with energy, playing with energy, full speed. He knows how to work, how to practice, and I think it rubs off on everyone else.
Q: With him out there, it seems you have four tight ends you're giving first-team reps to. Does it every get hard to kind of break up those snap counts between them?
A: Not at this time of year; it doesn't, but obviously, when we get into game weeks and we get into game planning, there's no way you can play four guys at the position. That's when you have to make decisions.
Q: How do you make those decisions?
A: What we always try to do is find out what a guy does best and give him a chance to do it, and when you have three different guys, they do have differences in how they play. So, that's how you put a game plan together. With the tight end stuff, I think we've been pretty good.* *
Q: What'd you like about Brad Sorensen?
A: He has got a big arm. He has been exposed to this offense a little bit. He's a big, physical player. He has got a big arm. So, obviously, we were a little big short there for a couple days. He gave us a guy to look at and give us some work.
Q: Is there any chance he'll play at all Sunday?
A: We're going to get him ready to play. Hopefully we get enough snaps and get enough plays that we can play all our guys.
Q: Some teams with more experienced quarterbacks won't even play their quarterbacks in the preseason, but for someone in the third year of a system like Teddy is, do you think there's still value in that, provided he can get on the field?
A: Yeah, I think there's value in playing. One of the reasons we went to Cincinnati – I talked about this – Teddy probably got 80 reps of as close to a game that you can get without being a game, and he didn't get hit once. So, there's great value in doing that. You've seen a number of teams do that, so they can get their starting quarterbacks a lot of work without the physical contact that occurs in a game. But, Teddy has been sharp, and he'll be ready for the opener.
Q: What's the value, if any, of having that first preseason game in that brand new stadium, in terms of maybe in terms of paying off as you go into the first regular season game?
A: I just think it's exciting. I've been in the stadium three or four times, we obviously had the gala to open the stadium a month ago before we started training camp. I just can't think of the fans having a better venue to watch a game. It adds to everything, I think. This crowd has been outstanding the last two years, our fans are awesome. I think it'll just grow when we move into the new stadium. We just want to do our part and put on a good showing. I think Sunday's going to be exciting. It's going to be as close to a regular season game atmosphere as you can get without obviously being a regular season game. It's a warmup for everybody.
Q: Does it help your players, like the receivers in terms of the lights in there?
A: I think working out in the stadium and then playing in the stadium, no question, you get comfortable with it. That'll continue to go as we through the season.