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Bridgewater: I need to be more aggressive in 2016


The Minnesota Vikings own the building blocks to remain atop the NFC North in 2016 and beyond, but they need more out of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to pull it off.

Entering his second NFL offseason, Bridgewater understands he needs to work on trusting his reads and being more assertive in making plays in the passing game.

"Just being more aggressive," he said of what he needs to improve in 2016, via "I'm going to spend some time watching the tape, watching all of the pass plays, all the running plays, just critique them myself. Some little things that I can do better."

Around The NFL's Gregg Rosenthal noted in his audit of all the Wild Card Weekend losers that the Vikings' most pressing need was to develop the passing game, including adding another dynamic receiver to complement rookie Stefon Diggs. I'll add upgrades on the offensive line to the wish list. Bridgewater rarely had time to push the ball deep if he wanted to, thanks to a mediocre pass blocking group.

The blocking issues weren't lost on coach Mike Zimmer, who described the line play as "sporadic" on Tuesday, adding "we've got to do better."

Even with the lack of weapons and suspect blocking, Bridgewater still needs to up his aggression. There were plenty of times his game tape showed open receivers only to see him bail on the play too early or get gun-shy about pulling the trigger. Bridgewater was the opposite of a gunslinger: overly conservative to the offense's detriment.

His stats bear out the penchant for conservatism. Bridgewater piled up 10 games with fewer than 200 yards passing in his second season, including Sunday's playoff tilt in which he completed only six passes of more than five yards downfield. The quarterback had just one three-game streak in 2015 in which he went over the 200-yard mark. It's the opposite of what we saw from him down the stretch of his rookie year, when he finished averaging 273 yards passing in his final four contests of 2014.

"I think what was asked of my position -- I think we did a good job of doing what was asked of it, and now it's just time to take that extra step," Bridgewater said. "We're going to get together this offseason, (with the) coaching staff. I have to do a good job of communicating with those guys. We're all going to be on the same page, and when we come back in the spring it's going to be full speed."

What he was asked to do was lean on Adrian Peterson. While All Day proved he could still carry the Vikings to the playoffs, to lift more than division hardware, Minnesota needs Bridgewater to take that leap forward.


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