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Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater isn't thinking long term

A year ago Teddy Bridgewater opened Minnesota Vikings training camp as the team's future under center. A freak injury wiped away that certainty.

On Thursday, Bridgewater addressed the media for the first time since suffering a torn ACL and dislocated knee on a non-contact play during a practice last August that put his career in jeopardy.

The 24-year-old quarterback began 2017 training camp on the physically unable to perform list and said he's not rushing back on the field.

"Right now, I can't even think long term," he said. "I have to take it one day at a time. Like I said, within the blink of an eye, it was taken away from me. Right now, I have to just focus on Teddy. Try to get healthy, and the rest will take care of itself."

Bridgewater wouldn't give specifics on his rehab, but noted he spent the spring throwing to his receivers on the side. The signal-caller said he's spoken to several veteran NFL players who have gone through similar injuries and told him not to rush back.

"I've talked to numerous guys, and the common theme is take your time," he said. "I've talked to some guys who came back too soon, I've talked to some guys who took their time. The biggest thing is, I just have to know when my body is ready, I'll be ready. I've talked to Frank Gore, Willis McGahee -- different guys who had similar injuries to me. Those guys have been great mentors to me and kept me motivated."

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer later told reporters he's surprised by the strides Bridgewater has made in rehab.

"For him right now where he's at is remarkable," Zimmer said.

Bridgewater, who could be a free agent after the season after Minnesota declined to exercise the fifth year of his contract, wouldn't speculate on his future with the Vikings, saying only that his goal was to "continue to play football."

The ever-positive Bridgewater said he's learned a lot about himself and football after missing a year.

"Right now, I'm still in the process of learning my body all over again," he said. "And it's been fun because you learn new things about yourself that you didn't know before. And you find different strengths and weaknesses and you try to tweak everything so that everything is a strength. Right now, I'm focusing on my overall body from head to toe. And that's just what's most important."

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