There's a possibility Bridgewater's contract is tolled for the 2018 season, Courtney Cronin of ESPN reports.
Bridgewater, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the league year, spent the first six weeks of the 2017 season on the Vikings' Physically Unable to Perform list. Consequently, that could mean the final year of his rookie contract might be pushed forward to the 2018 campaign -- meaning Bridgewater would remain under contract at the same $1.35 million he earned in 2017. The decision to toll Bridgewater's contract is not up to the Vikings, but rather the NFL. While it's unclear how soon a verdict could be made, the outcome has significant implications for the Vikings' current quarterback dilemma considering none of Bridgewater, Sam Bradford or Case Keenum are currently under contract in 2018. However, even if Bridgewater's contract is ultimately tolled, there's a strong likelihood the NFL's player union would challenge the ruling in court in order for Bridgewater to seek a more lucrative contract on the open market.
On the mend from a freak knee injury he suffered in the summer of 2016, Bridgewater began the 2017 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and wasn't available to practice until October. By the time he was ready to take the field, Case Keenum was playing at a high level and had the Vikings well-positioned for the playoffs, giving Minnesota little reason to turn back to its 2014 first-rounder. Bridgewater now enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent -- along with Keenum and Sam Bradford -- leaving Kyle Sloter as the only quarterback under contract with the Vikings in 2018. There's been no indication on Minnesota's front on what it plans to do this offseason to address the situation.
Bradford, who made two starts before moving to IR in November following a knee procedure, resumed practicing earlier this month and apparently eased any concerns the organization had about his health. While Case Keenum will retain the starting role for Minnesota's postseason opener Sunday against New Orleans, Bradford is evidently being viewed as a better insurance option than Bridgewater, who returned from his own significant knee injury earlier this season following more than a year-long recovery. With the Vikings likely preferring to have more depth on hand at other positions Sunday, there's a good chance Bridgewater and No. 4 quarterback Kyle Sloter will both be inactive for the contest.
Bridgewater had an incompletion and an interception on two pass attempts in Sunday's 34-7 win over the Bengals.
Bridgewater came in as a late-game replacement for Case Keenum, who bounced back from a down outing in a Week 14 loss to Carolina to complete 20 of 23 passes for 236 yards and two scores in Sunday's blowout win. Bridgewater's first regular-season pass attempt since 2015 went for an interception when a high throw bounced off Jerick McKinnon's hands and fell into the lap of a defender. Given how well Keenum has been playing, Bridgewater is unlikely to see field again this season unless his teammate gets injured or the Vikings are involved in another massively lopsided contest. There's also some chance the Vikings will be locked in as the No. 2 seed entering Week 17, in which case Bridgewater might get a shot to start against the Bears.
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