Teddy Bridgewater back, but not in control
LANDOVER, Md.—Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater prides himself on his composure.
"I usually do a great job of controlling my emotions,'' Bridgewater said.
Not on Sunday. With Bridgewater active for a game for the first time since suffering a severe knee injury in August 2016, he broke down.
While on the bench before Minnesota's 38-30 win over Washington at FedExField, Bridgewater shed tears. He said it was a "huge day,'' and the realization hit him how far he had come since suffering a torn left ACL and dislocated knee 15 months ago, putting his career in jeopardy.
"I was trying to keep it together, but it's just that opportunities like these don't come around twice, so when you get that second opportunity, you cherish it and you hold it,'' Bridgewater said. "You never want to let it go, so (Sunday) got the best of me.
"It was definitely tears of joy thinking about everything that I've had to overcome these past couple of months. It's just great to be out there. It was great to lace my cleats up this morning and drive over on the bus with the guys.''
Bridgewater backed up Case Keenum and didn't play. Keenum completed 21 of 29 passes for 304 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
The Vikings took a 35-17 lead in the third quarter and looked as if they might take a big enough lead to get Bridgewater into the game late. But Keenum threw two interceptions, and the Redskins remained in the game until the end.
"All I kept saying was, 'Hey, let's just keep running it up so we can get up out of here,' '' Bridgewater said, shrugging off having any hope to get in for mop-up time.
Still, Bridgewater wants to play at some point this season.
"It's very important, but at the same time, I think I just have to approach each day with a mind-set that, 'Hey, I need to get better, whether it's being a better teammate or getting better with my health,' '' he said.
Keenum, 5-2 as a starter this season, certainly did enough to get the start next Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he has a plan on how he is approaching the quarterback situation, but he didn't reveal details.
"It's great,'' Zimmer said of Bridgewater dressing out Sunday. "Teddy has worked extremely hard to get back to this spot, and it was good to see him out there. This is another step in the process for him.''
Plenty of fans are clamoring for the popular Bridgewater to soon regain his starting job. Keenum has remained calm about all the commotion surrounding the popular Bridgewater.
"He's a fan favorite,'' Keenum said. "He's my favorite, too. I may have a Teddy Bridgewater jersey at home. He's a great dude and a great teammate. I told somebody on the field that Teddy definitely raises the cool factor of the quarterback group tremendously.''
Bridgewater spoke well of Keenum. The two quarterbacks are both very religious.
"He's a great human being, a God-fearing man,'' Bridgewater said. "I knew from Day One. My spirit could sense that he was a good man, and the spirit never lies.''
Before Sunday's game, Bridgewater said a prayer 8 yards deep in the end zone. That's when it started to hit him that he was indeed back for an NFL game.
"I kind of screamed a little on the sideline after I said my prayer in the end zone,'' Bridgewater said. "Then when I got on sideline, I was like, 'Man, this is really about to happen.' (Sunday) was a great moment for my personal life.''