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Teddy Bridgewater's rehab coming along with help from Mike Zimmer's tickles

NFL coaches are weird.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been less than a year since a catastrophic knee injury robbed emerging Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater of his 2016 season and possibly more. The young passer has been working tirelessly to rehabilitate a dislocated knee and torn ACL in an effort to get back to the field and reclaim his stake as Minnesota’s franchise cornerstone. Earlier in March, he received some encouragement from his head coach.

Encouragement, and a few inspirational tickles.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media during the NFL’s annual preseason meetings to talk about his quarterback situation. He told reporters he’d seen Bridgewater just weeks earlier at rehab, where he checked in with the dynamic young passer and even tickled his foot:

"The last time I saw him, he was in a good frame of mind," Zimmer said. "He's progressing along good. Kind of where we hoped he would be, but again, there's no timetable."

Bridgewater showed off that progression earlier in the week. An Instagram video featured the Vikings quarterback, equipped with a bulky knee brace, moving to his right and throwing a dart to a receiver downfield:

Zimmer wasn’t concerned about the clip making its way to the internet and fueling speculation about Bridgewater’s return.

"I don't care if he puts that on Instagram,” he told reporters. “If Teddy feels better about it, then it's good with me."

Though Zimmer would also mention he had “no idea” when Bridgewater would return, it’s clear the Vikings still consider him a part of their future. Minnesota traded for Sam Bradford to fill in at quarterback last fall, but it has yet to extend his contract despite a career year from the former Rams and Eagles passer. With the former Pro Bowler now showing off a return to the field, however brief it may be, that clip and his head coach’s statements are enough to give Vikings fans a little bit of offseason optimism.