Teddy Bridgewater’s improved accuracy won’t change Minnesota Vikings’ offensive scheme
MINNEAPOLIS -- Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's improved accuracy and escalating production the past two games finally squared the Minnesota Vikings' offense. However, it still pivots off Adrian Peterson and the running attack, coach Mike Zimmer s...
MINNEAPOLIS - Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s improved accuracy and escalating production the past two games finally squared the Minnesota Vikings’ offense. However, it still pivots off Adrian Peterson and the running attack, coach Mike Zimmer said Monday.
“I don’t particularly see us as a team that’s going to be throwing the ball every play,” he said. “That’s just not who we are right now. But I think you can see when we’re effective throwing the football how much better we can be offensively.”
Bridgewater had his finest day as a pro in Sunday’s 38-17 victory over Chicago, completing 17 of 20 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for another score and threw no interceptions for a second straight week.
Bridgewater’s 154.4 passer rating was the second-highest ever for a Minnesota quarterback behind Gus Frerotte’s 157.2 in 2003 against San Francisco.
Zimmer noted his second-year quarterback converted 16 of 18 third-down passes in the win over the Bears and the Dec. 10 loss to Arizona, where Bridgewater threw for a career-high 335 yards.
“He’s felt really good going into these last two ballgames,” Zimmer said. “I think maybe sometimes in the past he saw some things were covered that really still had a chance to get open, and he’s (completed) those.”
Peterson missed a chunk of time Sunday because of a sprained ankle and finished with 63 yards on 18 carries. The Vikings still ran the ball 36 times for 129 yards.
Against the Cardinals, Peterson rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown but took a backseat in the second half as the Vikings opened up the passing game in their failed comeback.
Zimmer said there is no temptation to start throwing more.
“I don’t think there will be,” he said. “We want to run the football and we want to be efficient throwing the ball.”
After connecting with 11 receivers in Arizona, Bridgewater spread completions to seven different players against the Bears. Tailback Jerick McKinnon led the way with four receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield. Stefon Diggs had three catches for 55 yards and a pair of scores.
Diggs remains Bridgewater’s most trustworthy and productive receiving threat. Twenty-nine of the rookie’s 47 receptions have converted first downs. On Minnesota’s initial drive, Bridgewater dropped a beautiful touch pass into Diggs’ arms in the back corner of the end zone.
“That’s a confident throw,” Zimmer said. “There were a couple of other safer places he could have made the throw, but he decided to try to hit the big one. That play probably shows as much about his confidence level now.”
Diggs has 693 receiving yards, 253 of which have come after catches, a dynamic playmaking trait that has shined in Minnesota’s two wins over the Bears.
His 40-yard spin and dash into the end zone was the game-winning touchdown Nov. 1 at Soldier Field. On Sunday, he caught a short pass from Bridgewater, turned upfield and broke a pair of tackles before diving across the goal line for his second touchdown.
“Teddy Bridgewater just puts everybody in position to be great,” Diggs said. “He puts you in a position to be successful, he makes plays, and he creates things back there and makes it happen.”
Zimmer noted Diggs’ ability to make tacklers miss is a byproduct of his early collegiate career as a punt returner at Maryland.
“He’s tough and he’s competitive. I probably didn’t know the determination like he had on the second touchdown, where he said, ‘I’m getting in the end zone,’” Zimmer said. “I know he’s that kind of kid, but maybe the competitive part of the run at the end was what I hadn’t seen as much when we drafted him.”