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Norv Turner: Teddy Bridgewater will be top flight QB

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Teddy Bridgewater was ranked No. 23 among NFL starting quarterbacks in a recent ESPN.com poll compiled with input from 35 coaches and executives around the league.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who was thoroughly outplayed by Bridgewater last season, was ranked four spots higher.

It comes as no surprise that Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner scoffs at the rankings, noting that there are only four or five guys he trusts to evaluate quarterbacks.

"The one evaluation we care about is ours," Turner said Monday, via NFL Media's James Palmer. "And based on where we got to last year and where we think we're going, I think we have a top flight quarterback."

Turner added that Bridgewater improved "dramatically" as the season went on, a sentiment backed up by the statistics as well as the game tape.

To be clear, Turner isn't claiming that Bridgewater ranks with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger right now.

Rather, he firmly believes Bridgewater will join their ranks once the second-year quarterback fully develops.

Is that a fair assessment?

One anonymous general manager challenged anyone to find an area where Bridgewater projects as above average.

We accept that challenge.

Throughout December, Bridgewater displayed poise in the pocket and a natural feel for pressure to go with excellent touch and top-notch accuracy -- even on deep balls. Those traits aren't going away.

Granted, the coaching staff protected him with play calls suited to his strengths. But it speaks volumes that Bridgewater was one of the NFL's most effective quarterbacks down the stretch with Matt Asiata, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright and Chase Ford -- not Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph.

Bridgewater finished second only to Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack in Around The NFL's "Making the Leap" countdown earlier this month.

We fully expect him to graduate to the top half of NFL quarterbacks in 2015.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast features the triumphant return of Dan Hanzus and discusses the biggest mysteries heading into training camp.

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