Bridgewater's gruesome injury prior to the 2016 season combined with the two years on current Vikings starter Sam Bradford's contract led us to believe that we may not see the former Vikings first-round pick on the field until 2018 if at all. But as he recovers, Bridgewater has been documenting some benchmarks along the way -- some that hint at a sooner-than-expected revival.
On Wednesday, one of those benchmarks was a photo Bridgewater posted to his private Instagram account. Shown here by The Star Tribune, it depicts Bridgewater working out without a knee brace. In most of the videos or pictures posted publicly before Wednesday, Bridgewater had a sizable black brace gripping a majority of his injured left knee.
Regardless of whether or not this is major rehabilitation news, it's another reminder to everyone watching his comeback to step back and think about how far he's come. The macabre depictions of Vikings practice the day Bridgewater got hurt were jarring. Surgery and rehab were brutal. The fact that we're even entertaining a return to football is fairly incredible.