NFL: Is Teddy Bridgewater the Right Quarterback For Minnesota Vikings?
What a crushing loss for the Minnesota Vikings. Cruising right down the field against the Arizona Cardinals, it looked certain that Monday night's game would at least go into overtime. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, Teddy Bridgewater broke a huge rule. When it's the last drive and you have no time outs left, never take a sack or throw the ball in the middle of the field.
Bridgewater didn't just take the sack, he lost the football, and the game.
Cardinals win, 23-20.
It's still very early in Bridgewater's career, but many fans are wondering, "Can he be that guy to lead the Vikings to the promised land?" Despite their last minute loss, the Vikings are still 8-5 this year, which is good enough for a wild card playoff spot. Bridgewater only has nine touchdown passes to eight interceptions this season, so there are plenty of skeptics out there. The Vikings offense rank 30th in yards produced, 28th in points scored and 30th in total passing yards so far this season.
As a franchise, the Vikings haven't had much luck at drafting quarterbacks since selecting Fran Tarkenton in 1961. Not that long ago the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder, who is now a free agent, No. 12 overall. That proved to be a terrible decision.
With Bridgewater struggling to be a pure pocket passing quarterback this season, it's putting a lot more pressure on Adrian Peterson. Peterson is still the best running back in the league, but opposing teams are simply stacking the box because they know the Vikings lack a huge passing threat. Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks was a prime example. Peterson only got eight carries because the team was down by so many points early, and the Vikings leaned on Bridgewater to make plays. Bridgewater threw the ball 28 times, but only amassed 118 yards and couldn't record a single touchdown.
The Green Bay Packers, who currently lead the NFC North and haven't lost to the Vikings in the last six meetings, know full well about this. In Week 11 the Packers stacked the box against the Vikings bringing the linebackers in and it worked to perfection. Peterson ran for just 45 yards. Again, the game was put in Bridgewater's hands. Bridgewater managed just one touchdown drive despite throwing the ball 37 times. Peterson has failed to hit the 70-yard rushing mark in three of the last four weeks.
Vikings management has done a good job surrounding Bridgewater with talented weapons. Mike Wallace is one of the best deep threats in the league, and you could very well make the case Stefon Diggs is the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
It's obviously far too early to label Bridgewater a draft bust, but he clearly needs to play better if the Vikings are going to win it all.
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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