Teddy Bridgewater: OK as backup

Updated: June 6, 2014, 6:24 PM ET
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- With two veteran quarterbacks on the roster, Minnesota Vikings rookie Teddy Bridgewater said Thursday he'd be accepting of a backup role to start the season.

Bridgewater might have been the most impressive quarterback on the field during the team's organized team activity Thursday. He only missed three throws all day, connected with Adam Thielen on a long throw down the sideline, and marched the Vikings' offense down the field for a score during his two-minute drill work.

But Bridgewater, who has been a starter since the start of his freshman season at Louisville, realizes that his early work might not lead to a starting job at the beginning of the season.

"It's not tough at all because I have nothing but my best interest for the team, and I'm very excited about this team that we have here," he said. "I'm just happy for this entire team.

"If I'm not the guy, then I know the coaches have the best interest for the team also. My teammates also have the best interest for the team. So in order for me to be a better player, I have to have the best interest for the team and want nothing but the best interest for the team."

[+] EnlargeTeddy Bridgewater
AP Photo/Ann HeisenfeltVikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater has impressed coaches during OTAs, but realizes that he likely will start the season as the backup to veteran Matt Cassel.

Bridgewater got some first-team snaps Thursday, but 32-year-old Matt Cassel did the majority of the work with the Vikings' starting offense and figures to go into training camp as the starting quarterback.

Christian Ponder -- the Vikings' first-round pick in 2011 -- is still on the roster, though he would likely need to make a major turnaround to regain the starting job after three disappointing seasons.

New coach Mike Zimmer has preached competition across the Vikings' roster, and Bridgewater could get a shot to win the job in training camp.

"He's a worker. He wants to be really, really good," Zimmer said Thursday. "He's kind of feeling his way a little bit around the guys, which that will come in time. He understands he's a young guy; he will keep going and progressing in that way, the more comfortable he feels around everybody, but I like him a lot. He's going to be a good football player for us."

But while Zimmer believes Bridgewater will grow as a leader, the rookie said the team isn't his yet.

"Right now, I'm just learning from Matt." Bridgewater said. "He's a veteran right now, and I notice the things that he's doing when he's in the huddle. I'm taking notes from him and Christian also. Those guys have had past success.

"Those guys have made it to the playoffs and led teams to the playoffs so it's very interesting to learn from those guys, learn the mental focus and mental approach to the game rather than what they can do physically. I've just been taking notes from those guys and trying to make myself a better teammate also."

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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