- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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MANKATO, Minn. -- When the Minnesota Vikings are back on the field for their second preseason game on Saturday night, against the Arizona Cardinals at TCF Bank Stadium, offensive coordinator Norv Turner will probably be less concerned than most of us charting the horse-race aspect of the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback competition. Matt Cassel will need to play more than the 10 snaps he got last Friday, and that could affect how much time Teddy Bridgewater gets with the first-team offense.
Who plays where, and how much, isn't factoring all that much into Turner's thinking about the quarterbacks.
"That's so overrated," Turner said of the need to see a certain quarterback with the first-team offense. "You get an evaluation of a guy when he plays. The things that happen to him with the second (team), the same exact things are going to happen to him with the (No.) 1s. (Bridgewater) got a 10-play drive with the 1s. He got as many snaps as Matt did with the 1s. I'm not interested in evaluating Teddy. I'm interested in coaching him and continuing to help him get better. We evaluated Teddy before the draft. We know what he's capable of doing."
On Friday night against the Oakland Raiders, Bridgewater "showed all the things that you need to be a quarterback in this league," Turner said. "He was quick with the ball. He made good decisions. For the most part, he got the ball out quick. He's very elusive. I think that's hard for guys to rush you when that's the case. He got pretty good pressure a couple times, and he probably could have gotten the ball out (sooner). He will be able to get the ball out as we continue doing it."
Bridgewater started the game with a 21-yard strike to Greg Jennings after rolling to his right, a play that was called back because the Vikings only had six men on the line of scrimmage. The throw, Turner said, was "as good a throw as you can make." The Vikings will take advantage of Bridgewater's mobility, and they could also use the tactic to make the game easier for the rookie by only requiring him to read half the field after he rolls to one side or the other.
"It can simplify things, but it simplifies things for the defense, too," Turner said. "You can't live on those things. Those things are change-ups you mix in. He's going to be able to do that."
Bridgewater looked rattled by pressure on Friday night, but he handled it well throughout his college career, and will likely adapt to it in the NFL. It might be interesting to see him get some snaps against a first-team Cardinals defense that posted 47 sacks a year ago and plays one of the league's better 3-4 schemes, but the personnel on the field doesn't have as significant an effect on the Vikings' evaluations of Bridgewater as it does in the rest of our minds. That is worth remembering on Saturday, when the Vikings will be looking for progress from Bridgewater no matter what point in the game he gets on the field.
2hEric D. Williams