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Zimmer Confident Teddy Bridgewater Can Clear Hurdle

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said after Friday's practice that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hadn't cleared concussion protocol tests but said "I don't have any doubts" about Bridgewater's availability for Sunday at Oakland.

Officially, he's listed as questionable.

The Vikings (6-2) visit the Raiders (4-4) at 3:05 p.m. If Bridgewater can go, it will be his first matchup with Derek Carr, who was selected 36th overall in 2014, four spots after Minnesota traded into the first round to draft Bridgewater. It also will be a reunion with his high school teammate Amari Cooper, the fourth overall pick of this year's draft.

Bridgewater has the Vikings on a four-game win streak that's improved his record as a starter to 12-8. The streak includes leading come-from-behind and go-ahead drives in Chicago for the Vikings first victory at Soldier Field since 2007. That season was also the most recent in which Minnesota has won a game in California (at San Francisco).

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner said Bridgewater has done a good job of helping the Vikings play the field position game in conjunction with a defense that's tied for second in the NFL with 17.5 points allowed per game and special teams coverage units that have contained kickoff and punt returns.

"I don't care if the score is 10-7 and it's in the fourth quarter, or it's 38-35 and it's in the fourth quarter," Turner said. "It's the same deal, you've got to find a way to go make plays to help you win and we're fortunate right now and it's for a good reason.

"We're awfully good on defense, we've played some teams that struggled to move the ball against us," Turner added. "I think we've contributed to that because we run the ball, we play the field position game as well as any team I've been around in a long time – a combination of running the ball, getting first downs, punting the ball down in there, our special teams were playing great. Other teams' offenses don't start in very good field position against us."

If Bridgewater is not cleared through the NFL's independent evaluation, the Vikings have Shaun Hill and rookie Taylor Heinicke at quarterback.

Advanced routes: Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards said a considerable threat presented by Cooper this early in his career comes from his ability to run routes. Cooper has 45 catches for 653 yards (most among rookies) and four TDs.

"There's a lot of different things when you look at him – from how he's running routes, from stemming, to double-moves in his routes, being able to go up, locate the ball and be able to come down with it," Edwards said. "He's having an excellent first year. Their scheme, they're getting throws to him, complementary, all of their receivers are really making plays. From that aspect of it, I think he's bought in and done a nice job of adding the tools that he brought into their system and has caught on in the league pretty easy." 

Cooper has formed a tandem threat with receiver Michael Crabtree, who has 47 catches for 591 yards and five scores in an offense that's attempted 304 passes and 188 rushes.

Filling gaps at LB: Linebacker Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks — a pair of California natives — finished the week as questionable and doubtful, respectively, on the injury report.

Barr (hand) was injured against St. Louis, and Kendricks (ribs) was injured at Chicago.

Veteran Chad Greenway filled in at middle linebacker for the first time ever after Audie Cole was lost against the Bears because of a season-ending ankle injury. The Vikings added depth to the position group this week in signing veteran Jason Trusnik, and have Brandon Watts and rookie Edmond Robinson.

Zimmer said Greenway not only handled the load during the game, but also didn't take a rep off in practice this week.

"He felt good. Actually, he likes to play," Greenway said. "He was excited about the chances last week and I think his body feels good; he hasn't missed a rep."

Defense keeps AP second: The Vikings defense limited Todd Gurley to 89 yards on 24 carries (3.7 per carry) last week. It was the first time Gurley had been held under 100 in a start. It also kept him from passing Adrian Peterson for second place in rushing yards through the first six games of a career.

Game status: In addition to Bridgewater and Barr, Marcus Sherels (shoulder) is questionable. Terence Newman (concussion), Sharrif Floyd (knee/ankle), Linval Joseph (foot), Brian Robison (ankle) and Cordarrelle Patterson (shoulder) are probable.

Click here for the full injury report.

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