Zimmer scoffs at Bridgewater's 'game manager' label


Teddy Bridgewater hasn't stuffed the stat sheet in 2015 and classmates like Derek Carr have outplayed the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback. Yet, behind Adrian Peterson, Bridgewater has helped the Vikes scale to the top of the NFC North.

Teddy has become a stable force under center, but coach Mike Zimmer scoffs at the "game manager" label for his young quarterback.

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"I don't know what a game manager is really," Zimmer said, via the team's official website, "but I think Teddy has got an extremely bright future, I think he's a heck of a quarterback and I'm glad he's mine."

In truth, Bridgewater can be both a "heck" of a quarterback and game manager without the negative connotation needed. Especially when he manages to win games.

"I guess one of the best statistics is that he doesn't hurt his team ever," Zimmer said. "Very rarely does he hurt his team. Most of the time, he's helping his team in a lot of ways that don't show up in number of yards. We always said we wanted to be a team that runs the football well, plays good defense, plays good special teams; we kind of do that a little bit. But I think when games get on the line -- and this may be a game; I don't know, he may have to do some things."

Bridgewater hasn't been a prolific stat stuffer, but the Vikings very rarely ask him to be -- he hasn't thrown for more than 187 yards in the last three contests, all wins. As we saw Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, the play calling is "run Peterson" heavy. Whereas down the stretch last season, Bridgewater was in shotgun a lot throwing the ball, this year he's been under center 52.6 percent of the time, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Bridgewater hasn't shown the type of accuracy or explosive play we expected entering the season and has struggled to find receivers down the field -- sometimes because he's been gunshy trying to avoid mistakes, sometimes because receivers aren't open.

Even if he hasn't been spectacular, the 7-2 Vikings are just fine with his play.

"I think if we were throwing the ball every down, you'd see it differently, but that's not who we are," Zimmer pointed out. "Hopefully as the weather continues to get colder and we get into more bad weather games, our identity will continue to show up."

Not many teams are going to want to tackle Peterson outdoors in Minnesota in January, which is right where Teddy has them in line to be.