Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater vows to take ‘extra step’

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made it onto national television this season when he wasn't even playing.Bridgewater was featured in a commercial for Pepsi in which he steps out of a TV screen and into a Buffalo Wil...

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater throws a pass against the Seattle Seahawks in a NFC Wild Card playoff game Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn / USA TODAY Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made it onto national television this season when he wasn’t even playing.
Bridgewater was featured in a commercial for Pepsi in which he steps out of a TV screen and into a Buffalo Wild Wings. Whether Bridgewater has any more ads coming out, he said it’s not a high priority.
“You usually are part of those things when you’re winning, so that must be a good thing, but I don’t want to be a celebrity,” Bridgewater said. “I want to be a championship-winning quarterback. So, all the stuff off the field means nothing.”
Bridgewater appeared in his first NFL playoff game last Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, a 10-9 loss to Seattle decided when Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds left.
Bridgewater, who completed 17 of 24 passes for 146 yards, took the loss hard. He vows to be better next season.
“It’s just time to take that extra step, and I’m going to come back next year with the same intensity, the same focus and be even better - just being more aggressive,” he said.
Bridgewater is eager to work with some of his receivers during the offseason near his South Florida home. Rookie Stefon Diggs already has committed.
In leading Minnesota to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title, Bridgewater threw for 3,231 yards, completing 65.3 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He showed improvement, but it wasn’t drastic.
Coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday the Vikings will bring in another quarterback through the draft or free agency, but it won’t be to challenge Bridgewater.
“Teddy is our quarterback. He’s going to be our quarterback, and there’s no doubt about that going forward,” Zimmer said. “There’s not one thing I don’t love about this kid.
“He’s got the right demeanor, the right heart, the right competitiveness and he’s a worker. He makes quick decisions, and so we need to continue to move forward with him.”
Zimmer said Bridgewater does need to work on “coming over the top a little bit more” to better hit throws over the middle. He said last month that Bridgewater needs to be more vocal with teammates.
“That’s something that I continue to work on,” Bridgewater said. “The guys know that I’m a genuine guy. When I do say something it speaks volumes. I’m in a position right now where I get to lead this group of men in this locker room, and I’m glad to be in this position.”
Consistency has been an issue for Bridgewater, whose final five regular-season games featured three that were impressive and two that were dreadful. Bridgewater, though, shrugged off his up-and-down nature.
“I think (for) what was asked of my position, I think we did a good job,” he said.
Under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, the Vikings ran a low-risk attack built around NFL-leading rusher Adrian Peterson. As far as backup quarterback Shaun Hill was concerned, Bridgewater did well in the only statistic that really counts.
“There’s a lot of emphasis placed on a lot of stats on paper, but the guy does what we need to do to win, and that’s the most important stat out there,” Hill said. “He’s got a bright, bright future.”
Bright enough that Hill believes Bridgewater could have more television commercials in his future.
“He could (be a celebrity) he wanted to, but I understand what he’s saying,” Hill said. “He wants to be the best quarterback he can be first.”

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