GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Minnesota Vikings had played the Green Bay Packers on Sunday instead of Thursday, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said, he would have been ready to come back from a sprained left ankle.
As it is, Bridgewater will have to wait until Oct. 12 to return to the field.
The quarterback said he has "no doubt at all" he will be healthy enough to start Oct. 12 against the Detroit Lions, and coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings plan to start Bridgewater in that game. But with Christian Ponder taking all the first-team snaps in practice this week, the Vikings made the decision not to bring Bridgewater back four days after he sprained his ankle and risk further injury. Ponder threw two interceptions and was sacked six times in the Vikings' 42-10 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
"It was a decision that Coach [Zimmer] made, and they felt it was best for the team and felt it was best for me," Bridgewater said.
Bridgewater said he couldn't remember at what point during the day Zimmer made the decision to start Ponder instead of him, but the players didn't seem terribly surprised by the move after the Vikings spent the week preparing for Ponder to start.
"Christian was taking a lot of snaps this week," receiver Jarius Wright said. "We kind of knew that we might be without Teddy."
Asked whether Bridgewater lobbied to play Thursday, Zimmer said, "No. It wasn't up to him. It was up to me."
The Vikings' decision to keep Bridgewater out was made with the rookie's long-term health in mind, and it meant the first-round pick was on the sideline for the Vikings' third loss by 30 points or more at Lambeau Field in the past eight seasons.
"It was very difficult," he said. "You never want to see the opponent, you never want to see yourselves basically go out the way that we did. We just have to come back and just be better next week."
Zimmer also said he thinks Cordarrelle Patterson, who left in the third quarter with a hip injury, will be fine and that the injury isn't major.