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QB job not a done deal for Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.— If nothing else, Teddy Bridgewater has planted the seed of doubt when it comes to the general assumption that he’ll be brought along slowly and out of sight while veteran Matt Cassel mans the starting quarterback job to start the regular season.

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings are the beneficiary of a draft-day slide that delivered Bridgewater to them in a slot (No. 32 overall) that comes with fewer expectations and more patience. But the youngster from Louisville showed enough on and off the field during the offseason to be taken seriously as a contender for the starting job from opening day.

The Vikings, who report for training camp on Thursday in Mankato, Minnesota, before holding their opening practice on Friday, like what they’ve seen.

“I knew he’d make great decisions, quick decisions,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “But he has been outstanding throwing the deep ball, which some people thought would be an issue.”

Despite not playing in a game yet, he seems to have given Vikings fans hope. His jersey sale ranks 13th among all NFL players as released on Monday by the league.

Bridgewater has shown the work ethic, the instincts, the mental capacity, the quick release, the poise and the arm strength to give a career journeyman such as projected starter Matt Cassel a run for the starting job. As for those who point to Cassel’s highlights a year ago (versus Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), well, they also need to brush up on his lowlights (versus Carolina and Cincinnati) and overall inconsistency and shaky ball security.

Many have assumed a likely scenario that includes Cassel starting, Bridgewater waiting a year and Christian Ponder serving as the No. 3. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has been careful not to name a starter, a No. 2 or a No. 3.

“I think in the six-to-eight weeks we’ve had him on the field, I think he’s been put in a position where’s he’s had to make most of the throws he would have to make,” Turner said. “I think he can make all the throws he needs to make.”

First-year head coach Mike Zimmer said he has a date in mind for when he wants to name his starting quarterback. After watching Bridgewater for two months, it appears that decision might not be the foregone conclusion that many expected.