First things first, Teddy Bridgewater is in need of another wide receiver playmate. Outside of rookie sensation Stefon Diggs, the wide receiver group vastly disappointed for the sophomore QB in 2015. Charles Johnson was thought to continue his solid 2014 season and build upon it for 2015.
Unfortunately, that never happened and Bridgewater was left with one less reliable option. Cordarrelle Patterson, who was a 1st round selection in the 2013 draft after Minnesota traded four draft picks to move up for New England’s 29th pick, was tagged to develop into a reliable wide receiver. Again, unfortunately that also never happened and today, Patterson remains regulated as a kick returner and could even find himself out of work because of the NFL rule change regarding kickoffs. Too make matters even worse, tight end, Kyle Rudolph, who would have helped Bridgewater ease into the NFL during his rookie year, missed seven weeks, due to a sports-hernia injury. Although, the Viking receiving options have talent, their production has not equaled or lived up to the expectations of said talent. Here’s to hoping that the new offense “talent” brought in from this year’s NFL rookie draft will offer some help to good ol’ Teddy.
It could be said that Bridgewater has been without a legitimate weapon since entering the NFL and it could also be said that his stats speak directly to that fact. In fact, since entering the league, he has averaged 7.23 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 17th in the NFL. Bridgewater’s stats, for the first two years, certainly don’t jump off the page, especially for dynasty owners, as he has had nearly a 1:1 TD/INT ratio. Although, that number is also affected by lack of opportunities, as Minnesota has ranked 29th (2014) and 27th (2015) in red zone opportunities per game and was last in the NFL last year in passing attempts and ranked 22nd the year prior. Having Adrian Peterson in your backfield should certainly help any new quarterback tasked with leading the Vikings.
Ideally, not only does it allow the team to be run-oriented and have success, it also allows the team to slowly bring along a young quarterback. It does, however, hurt the fantasy value for a quarterback when Bridgewater has ranked 23rd and 22nd in 2014 and 2015 respectively, in passing yards and is only throwing for 14 TD’s in each of those years.
There is some thought within the football community that Bridgewater will benefit greatly from the new Vikings stadium, which will be enclosed. Though the sample size is extremely small, he had a 71.0 completion percentage, while playing indoors versus 63.8, while playing in the elements. In fact, his QB rating was nearly 5 plus points better (92.0) and in 2015 his rating was 98.0, while playing indoors. Vikings GM Rick Spielman has been quoted as saying (about Bridgewater), “I don’t want to call him cautious, but he took very good care of the ball because we don’t want to turn the ball over”. (Just) letting it loose a little more, giving some guys a chance to make plays even though it may not look like its open.” Ideally, second year receiver Diggs and his 13.8 yards per reception will be one of those players making plays as well as, Rudolph over the middle.
The one player, which no doubt will enhance Bridgewater’s prospects for success going forward is 1st round selection of Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss. The 6-2 prospect should help the 10.2 yards/attempt, which Bridgewater had between the 20’s in 2015. Treadwell averaged 14.1 yards per catch during his junior season in the SEC and has the makeup to be a difference maker when the ball is in the air. The Vikings also added German born Mortiz Boehringer, who became a pre-draft media darling, in the 6th round. Boehringer has the physical traits of an NFL receiver, but will need seasoning to develop into a starting caliber NFL receiver.
It could be fair to say that Bridgewater has been limited in his first 2 years in the league. You would think that most rookie quarterbacks entering the league would relish walking into an offense with a running game as similar as to what Minnesota has. This keeps the defense keyed towards the backfield and opens up the options for what a signal caller can do. To further the point, with a running game like Minnesota has you would hope that play-action would be his bread and butter. If utilized effectively it can be a young quarterback’s best friend. Unfortunately, for Bridgewater the options on who to throw to after the defense baits towards the run have been dismal. Therefore, the addition of Treadwell pairing with Diggs, along with another healthy season from Rudolph, should propel the 3rd-year QB into the mid QB2 conversation for dynasty owners. Personally, I don’t ever foresee Bridgewater approaching mid QB1 range, but I could see him sneaking into the lower end of the tier for possibly one or two seasons.
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