Thursday, June 19, 2014
Zimmer: Vikings not afraid to play young QB
By Ben Goessling
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he has a date in mind for when he wants to name a starting quarterback, but perhaps unsurprisingly, he wasn't in the mood to share that date with the assembled media covering the final day of the mandatory minicamp on Thursday.
We know this much, though: If rookie Teddy Bridgewater proves to be the best man for the job, Zimmer won't keep him on the bench.
"We, as the Vikings, are not afraid to do anything," Zimmer said, "We’re going to make sure that we’re diligent in getting this team prepared the best we can. We’re hoping we can continue to compete for jobs and get the best guys out there ready to go.
"The one thing we never want to do is hold back progress here. We want to keep progressing, whether it’s playing younger guys or getting better out on the field.
Bridgewater received more snaps than any other quarterback during the Vikings' three-day minicamp, though Matt Cassel got most of the first-team work. The rookie finished 50-for-57 in 11-on-11 work during the minicamp; all three quarterbacks were relatively accurate during the minicamp, and it's dangerous to put too much emphasis on performances in non-padded practices, but Bridgewater at least looked up to the task at this point, throwing a better deep ball than many expected and showing he had a solid command of the offense so far.
"It's amazing that I've been able to learn so much in the six weeks that I've been here," Bridgewater said on Wednesday. "I've just been gaining that confidence every day. Just feeling really comfortable right now and knowing that I still have room for improvement and a long way to go to be where I want to be. I'm feeling confident and comfortable right now, but I still have more to learn."
The plan for Bridgewater will become more clear once the team reconvenes for training camp on July 24, but Zimmer -- who came from a Bengals team that started Andy Dalton as a rookie -- doesn't seem daunted by the idea of starting his head coaching career with a rookie at quarterback.
"I don’t know if it’s a risk," Zimmer said about playing a young QB. "I think with that position you have to weigh a lot of different factors: how the defense is, where you’re at in the progression of things, maybe more so at that position than when you’re talking about a safety that handles different things."