Around the Horns: 'This franchise is Teddy's'

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When he joined the Minnesota Vikings in May, as the quarterback of the future on a team that figured to be taking its cues from Matt Cassel in 2014, Teddy Bridgewater was careful to abide by the old axiom about rookies being seen and not heard. He was assertive, but not outspoken, in his first few months with the Vikings, deflecting credit in interviews and largely keeping to himself in the locker room.

Not much changed when Bridgewater became the Vikings' starting quarterback in Week 4, but in recent weeks, he has started to show a little more of his personality in the locker room. And when Mike Zimmer declared the Vikings are Bridgewater's team after Sunday's win against the New York Jets, it seemed to be an invitation as much as anything.

"Teddy is so respectful of knowing his place and understanding everything," Zimmer said. "Quite honestly, I’m glad he’s like that, because the veterans gravitate to him, the offensive line gravitates to him, the defensive players gravitate to him. Those are the things that, and he’ll eventually -- I don’t know when it’ll be -- but he’ll eventually grow into that. He’s the guy."

Bridgewater's leadership was one of the things that Zimmer liked most about him during the pre-draft process, and the coach brought it up again after the game on Sunday, referencing Bridgewater's career at Miami Northwestern High School. "He was really the leader of that school, and everybody there respects him," Zimmer said. "They’ve had great, great, great athletes and players come out of his high school, but they all talk about Teddy Bridgewater and what he did for that school, what he’s done for their program and but not only football -- the teachers, the administrators and everybody else -- and to me that says an awful lot."

In our interview with the coach during the team's bye week, Zimmer talked about the solid foundation the Vikings will have in several years, when Bridgewater and linebacker Anthony Barr are the Vikings' leaders. Both players will have to grow into those roles, and Bridgewater, especially, will be asked to play the alpha dog role. Zimmer made it clear again on Sunday, though, that Bridgewater has his blessing to move in that direction.

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