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Vikings Look to Build Around Bridgewater

There was only one coach in the NFL who could send his quarterback a congratulatory text regarding the Pepsi Rookie of the Year.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer used the opportunity to make a little joke about Teddy Bridgewater's popularity. Zimmer said Thursday in addition to saying congrats, he added something along the lines of seeing "if we can win a championship unless you just want to be a celebrity quarterback."

"He texted me back and said, 'Thanks, Coach, but I've never cared about individual awards. All I care about is the team and winning football games,' " Zimmer explained. "The stuff he says is so perfect."

Zimmer said Bridgewater needs to get a little bigger, a little stronger this offseason, but the Vikings believe he is a player they can build around for a long time.

"I know Teddy and I know he's going to continue to work on all the different things that he needs to do as far as making himself better," Zimmer said. "He's different than me in a lot of ways, but in one way, he's never satisfied. He understands what he did was good, but I don't think he's satisfied."

Zimmer was speaking during a session with media at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, where he and the Vikings staff have convened to evaluate more than 300 top draft-eligible prospects.

The mindset for this year's trip to Indianapolis has been quite different for Zimmer and Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman whose primary focus of selecting a quarterback involved multiple flights between the combine and the draft to determine whether Bridgewater was the right person to lead Minnesota's aerial attack.

"That part is the important part because you can evaluate what you see on the tape," Spielman said. "You want, at that position, to spend as much time as you can to get to know the intangible part of player."

The evaluations included a trip to Bridgewater's pro day when Spielman said the media "did him a disservice" with their emphasis on his performance that day. The Vikings, however, assessed on-field performance on game film and through what they saw live and liked the information they learned about Bridgewater off the field.

"You know how it goes if you don't have a quarterback," Zimmer said. "It's the most important position on the football team because he handles the ball so much, and the way he handles himself, the way he does everything, if you find one, you have an opportunity to win some football games, so I think that was not overwhelming, but I feel fortunate that we got Teddy."

"We're going to continue to look for players, but it won't be like last year. We're not going to take the jet everywhere. We'll just keep looking for another guy we can develop.

He emerged a little bit later. When you go through the process of evaluating the guys and kind of figure out where they can fit in and do different things. We were so intent on finding a quarterback last year, that was utmost of our minds at that time.

Hopefully he turns out the same way, but Aaron Rodgers dropped a long way on his draft day. You've got to have some luck on your side in these drafts. We're very fortunate that we ended up hitting on Teddy.

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