EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday that Teddy Bridgewater is "progressing nicely" through the NFL's concussion protocol.
Bridgewater suffered a concussion Sunday in the fourth quarter of the Vikings 21-18 victory over the Rams. He was struck in the helmet by the arm of Lamarcus Joyner while sliding after a scramble. After the first impact, which drew a penalty and has been*debated*, the back of Bridgewater's head struck the turf.
He must pass multiple tests and independent evaluations before being cleared to play but was able to participate in practice on a limited basis Wednesday. The status is the same for cornerback Terence Newman, who was inadvertently kicked in the facemask as Todd Gurley tried to hurdle him.
If Bridgewater is unable to play, veteran Shaun Hill would be in line to make his first start since 2014 (with the Rams) and first as a Viking, even though his first four seasons were with Minnesota.
NFL rules prohibit players under evaluation of concussions from speaking while in the protocol, so Bridgewater did not have his routine press conference on Wednesday.
"If he's ready, he'll play," said rookie receiver Stefon Diggs. "I'm pretty sure Shaun is going to be ready and Taylor is going to be ready, but of course you want your guy back."
Diggs worked with Hill a considerable amount during training camp and the preseason as a Terrapins connection developed between the Maryland alums.
"He's been around the game for a long time, so he knows how to hit certain things on timing and all he harps on," Diggs said. "He does a lot of things really well."
Zimmer said Hill has "a great grasp of things."
"He's extremely smart," Zimmer said. "It's really about just going out there and getting reps and executing it. I think we're fortunate to have Shaun. He does a great job when I watch practice: he gets the ball out, he knows where to go, he's accurate. I think you saw that a lot in the preseason games, as well. He will be ready to go. He's a great professional, great kid."
As for Bridgewater, who is 12-8 as a starter in his young career and ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards among QBs before they turned 23, Zimmer said his comfort level has been better this season, but has a couple of areas where improvements can be made in the second half of his second season.
"I think that he has to be able to make some plays that are there when we have them there," Zimmer said. "He's missed a few, and it's a combination of things – we have to do better in our passing game, there's no question about it. Sometimes it's protection, sometimes it's the routes, sometimes it's guys covered, sometimes we're not making the correct reads or the correct throws, so we've got to do better there."