Norv Turner impressed with Teddy Bridgewater's deep throws

Could Teddy Bridgewater be the Vikings' Week 1 starter? (USATSI)
Could Teddy Bridgewater be the Vikings' Week 1 starter? (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: League minicamp dates | Latest news, notes

Back in January, after Teddy Bridgewater's junior season at Louisville in which he completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, just about everybody pegged him as the No. 1 draft-eligible quarterback. Then came a forgettable pro day followed by the predictable slide down the pre-draft big boards (even though pro days don't really factor into the evaluation process, said every draft expert who promptly ignored their own proclamation).

The Vikings eventually drafted Bridgewater 32nd overall, and if he outplays Matt Cassel (and, we suppose, Christian Ponder) in training camp, it's reasonable to think he'll begin the season as the starter.

So far, so good on that front.

Through rookie minicamp and mandatory OTAs, Bridgewater has surpassed expectations. First-year offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who is known for his ability to get the most out of young passers, has been especially impressed with Bridgewater's arm strength, something that was called into question during the pre-draft process.

"One of the things that has been the most impressive to me is, I knew he'd be very accurate, I knew he'd make great decisions, quick decisions, but he's been outstanding throwing the ball deep, which some people thought that was going to be an issue," Turner said, via's Brian Hall. "I think in the six or eight weeks we've had him on the field, I think he's been put in a position where he's had to make most of the throws he would have to make and I think he can make all the throws he needs to make."

Hall goes so far as to write that Bridgewater's throws appear to have more zip on them than Cassel's, a quarterback known for having one of the strongest arms in the league.

"It's all due to just continuing to come out every day and try to get better," Bridgewater said. "I'm able to learn from Matt and Christian, watch the little details in those guys' passing game and really their footwork when they're throwing the deep ball. I can always learn from those guys."

And the gloves. Bridgewater plans to wear them the rest of his career, which means one less thing the media can focus on if, god forbid, he struggles.

Meanwhile, Turner remains impressed not just with Bridgewater's physical abilities but his maturity.

"Teddy is so great to be around that it's easy," Turner said. "As coach (Mike) Zimmer has said, he knows how to work. He's very instinctive. He's a very natural player."

And while Zimmer is in no hurry to name a starter, Bridgewater sounds uninterested in viewing games from the sidelines.

“I can't even tell you the last time I sat and watched,” he said last month. “But my expectations here are to show that I can compete at a high level and lead this team.”

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories
    CBS Sports Shop