The Minnesota Vikings will soon have quarterback Teddy Bridgewater back at practice. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Bridgewater will return to practice Wednesday for the first time in more than a year.
“It’s a great deal for Teddy, and we’ll take it one day at a time, just like we did for the past 14 months,” Zimmer said.
Bridgewater missed the entire 2016 season due to a torn ACL and dislocated knee. The Vikings placed him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list before the 2017 regular season and are expected to take him off soon, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
However, Zimmer said the Vikings won’t activate him from the PUP just yet. The Vikings have 21 days to decide whether to put him on the active roster. If they don’t, he’ll spend the rest of the season on injured reserve.
Bridgewater suffered a gruesome non-contact ACL tear in training camp last season. Because of the injury, the Vikings traded a first-round pick to the Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford, who led the team to an 8-8 record in 2016.
If a player starts the regular season on the PUP list, he has to sit for the first six weeks. And once that player is medically cleared, he is eligible to return to the field as early as Week 7.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, Bridgewater visited Dr. Dan Cooper in Dallas for a checkup and physical on Monday. Cooper repaired Bridgewater's torn ACL and dislocated knee in August 2016. Now that 24-year-old has been medically cleared to play, Minnesota has three weeks to decide whether he can play this season or not.
Bridgewater's contract will be activated, too. His current deal will expire in March of 2018, making him a free agent.
Why is this important?
It's great to see Bridgewater healthy again. Before his knee injury in 2016, he led the Vikings to an NFC North crown in 2015. Prior to the the physical, sources told Rapoport and Pelissero that Bridgewater was “ready to go.” He didn't endure any setbacks, and he participated in football drills during rehab.
The Vikings have a quarterback quandary on their hands. Sam Bradford injured his knee in Week 1 and only played in part of one game since. Case Keenum replaced Bradford in Week 2. The Vikings sit atop of the NFC North at 4-2.
Minnesota will have to make some tough decisions regarding its quarterback depth chart. But if Keenum begins to struggle and Bradford never returns to full health, Vikings fans could potentially see Bridgewater lead the charge this season.