EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Former Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson said this week that he likes what he's seen from Teddy Bridgewater and he thinks it's only the beginning for the rookie QB.
Johnson spoke with *Vikings Connected *hosts Ben Leber, a teammate of Johnson's in 2006, and Erin Newburg via Skype for this week's episode that will air on Kare 11 and Fox Sports North.
Johnson, who was selected by Minnesota in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL Draft out of Florida State, was with the Vikings a total of nine seasons (1992-98 and 2005-06). He recalled those seasons, as well as playing for current Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner for two seasons in Washington and winning a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. Johnson also talked about discovering his own passion for coaching since his playing days.
Johnson made his first of two Pro Bowls in his first season of playing for Turner and said Bridgewater has done well adjusting to the NFL.
"I think he's surrounded by great coaches," Johnson said. "I was with Norv Turner in Washington in 1999 and 2000 and just loved playing for Norv. Norv's been around a lot of players that have different styles, and they drafted (Bridgewater) for a reason and that was to be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and be the leader for the next, however long he can bring playoff potential to them.
"Teddy's done a great job with his composure, he's made a lot of plays, he's won some big games," Johnson said. "He's made some mistakes, but you learn from them. He's a guy you can grow with. He's adapted to the game well, and I'm excited about the way he's playing."
Bridgewater is 5-5 as a starter, notching more wins this season than all other rookies combined. He is scheduled to make a franchise-record 11th start by a rookie QB at noon (CT) Sunday when the Vikings (6-8) visit Bridgewater's hometown of Miami to face the Dolphins (7-7).
OPPOSING RUSHERS: Bridgewater, the offensive line and running backs are aware of the threat posed by Miami defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. Most teams opt to put their most effective pass rusher at right end, but Wake, who has 9.5 sacks on the season, plays left end. Vernon has 6.5 sacks opposite Wake.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said both players are "really good."
"O.V. and Cameron Wake are two really solid rushers, so we're going to have to do a great job there and their inside people are strong and physical," Zimmer said. "The d-line coach (Kacy Rodgers) used to coach for me (in Dallas from 2003-06), so I know he's pretty darn good at getting these guys going."
BARR SIDELINED: The season will end early for Bridgewater's first-round draft classmate, linebacker Anthony Barr, Zimmer announced Friday.
Zimmer said Barr will undergo a minor surgical procedure for a knee injury that's caused him to miss the last two games. Barr started all 12 games he played and finished with 99 tackles (coaches' tally), 4.0 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, three passes defensed and one game-winning touchdown (after forcing and recovering a fumble) in overtime at Tampa Bay.
"He played great, played great. He's a good football player," Zimmer said. "Good kid, studies hard, does everything right. He's very conscientious, hard-working. He's already excited about getting back, getting this fixed and getting going.
Barr handled the move from playing an edge rusher position in a 3-4 for two seasons at UCLA to playing outside linebacker in a 4-3 and showed the ability to play consistently and add splash plays. Zimmer said the player and coaches believe Barr will only improve with more time in the system.
"He's going to be so much further ahead of where he was when the rookies got here," Zimmer said. "I think that, really, the sky is the limit for him and understanding the things we do. He's been in every meeting, he's been doing all of that stuff and he will continue to do that, as well."
In addition to Barr, starting left guard Charlie Johnson has been ruled out for Sunday's game. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is doubtful, and safety Robert Blanton is questionable.
Click here for the full injury report for both teams.