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Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater's vision 'starting to expand'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Teddy Bridgewater spread the ball around, and the Vikings stretched the field Sunday more than they have in his short career.

The second-year pro connected on a career-high four passes of 30 or more yards in one game in leading the Vikings to a 28-19 win at the Lions.

Minnesota (4-2) benefitted from a couple of well-placed throws, Bridgewater's understanding of the offense and a spectacular flying catch for a 36-yard touchdown by rookie Stefon Diggs, who also had a gain of 30 on a crossing route.

Bridgewater also connected with Adam Thielen for a 30-yard completion and correctly checked down to fullback Zach Line, who rumbled for a 49-yard gain.

All told, Bridgewater had at least one completion to 11 different Vikings, the first time that many players in Purple have had a reception in a game since Nov. 4, 1979. His 316 yards were one shy of tying his personal record.

"It just happens in this offense if you know where your check-downs are and things like that," Bridgewater said. "In this offense you always have an outlet in the passing game. Our guys do a great job of being spaced up, understanding passing concepts. For me, I try to get through my progressions fast and not hold on to the football, it just allows those guys to make plays and it showed Sunday, 11 different guys were able to touch the football and make plays for us." 

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Bridgewater finding Line may have been his favorite because of what it illustrates about the quarterback.

"I think he has a good idea of where the combinations of routes are," Zimmer said. "The one I might have liked the best was the one where he threw to Zach Line because he was working the other side of the field at the time. They dropped and for him to see it – his vision is starting to expand. That helps to open a lot of other things up for other of people."

Another thing that has helped the Vikings find more room is the attention that defenses are placing on trying to contain Adrian Peterson, who has dealt with multiple run blitzes the past couple of weeks, yet still broke loose for a 75-yard gain against the Lions.

Bridgewater specifically mentioned the completion to Thielen being helped by Detroit's focus on Peterson.

"Those guys bit on the run fake hard, it allowed Adam to just slip through the coverage and he was wide open for a big gain," Bridgewater said. "It goes hand-in-hand."

Cornerback Darius Slay crept up to the 30-yard line as Thielen sprinted through. The receiver made it to the 35-yard line before Slay turned around and began chasing Thielen.

It's obviously a different Lions team than the 2014 edition that made the playoffs as a wild card, but Bridgewater and the Vikings went from 0-2 last season to 2-0 this year.

Bridgewater was 54-of-78 passing (69.2 percent) for 503 yards (6.45 yards per attempt) against the Lions as a rookie. This season, however, his numbers rose to 39-of-53 passing (73.6 percent) for 469 yards (8.85 yards per attempt).

Bridgewater had three completions of 30-plus against Kansas City and has seven on the season through six games. He had 11 total in 12 starts a year ago.

In the past three division games (Chicago last December, and home and away against Detroit this season), Bridgewater is 56-of-78 passing (71.8 percent) for 678 yards with four TDs, one interception and a passer rating of 109.9. He's also picked up four first downs with his feet, rushing 15 times for 40 yards and a TD.

The Vikings visit the Bears (2-4) at noon (CT) Sunday.

Pruitt's double duty: rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt was able to show his versatility against the Lions by delivering a key block that helped spring Peterson on the 75-yard pickup. The fifth-rounder also recorded his first catch, a 13-yard gain to convert third-and-12 thanks to a second, third and fourth effort.

Pruitt caught the ball at the Detroit 35, needing to get past the 28. He broke two tackles, spun and was hit twice more at the 29-30 but surged forward.

"It's a great feeling to finally get that first catch and be able to contribute to this win," Pruitt said. "Get whatever you can on every play, no matter what the down and distance is. I want to go all out on each play."

"I thought he did some good things in there," Zimmer said. "He had a nice block on the long run that Adrian had. But on that one, the toughness kind of showed. It was a 6-yard catch, he turns and I liked the way that he attacked the defense to try and get the first down."

Pruitt has been involved in blocking for other runs by Peterson this season and enjoyed helping it happen again.

"It was great. I've been in there on a couple of runs like that where he's busted it wide open," Pruitt said. "When you're able to be in there and contribute to that, it's a great feeling."

Injury reports: For the Vikings, Peterson (hip/finger/ankle), Jarius Wright (concussion), Audie Cole (finger), Sharrif Floyd (knee/ankle) and Justin Trattou (foot) did not participate at Wednesday's practice. Line (neck), Thielen (ankle) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) were limited. Tom Johnson (knee) was a full participant.

For the Bears, DL Bruce Gaston (illness) and Shea McClellin (knee) did not participate. T Jermon Bushrod (shoulder), C Hroniss Grasu (neck), G/T Patrick Omameh (ankle), S Antrel Rolle (ankle), Matt Slauson (knee/shoulder) were limited.

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