NFL Wire News

Bridgewater showing leadership at the right times


The Sports Xchange

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a seven-sack beating at Denver two Sundays ago. Sure, he’d like better protection, but the youngster also knows how to score points with his pass protectors.

By not pointing fingers and mentioning what he can do better to help the protection, Bridgewater is creating a stronger bond with the big fellas up front.

“Teddy, I love the guy,” right guard Mike Harris said. “He never points a finger.”

Said Bridgewater, when asked about the pass protection, “For me, I can continue to get the ball out of my hands as fast as I can and make fast decisions to help out the protection.”

The seven sacks were one short of Bridgewater’s career high, set last October against the Lions.

–The Vikings have been weak at the strong safety position in the 20 games that Mike Zimmer has been the head coach. Robert Blanton has started 14 of those games, including 13 last year. Andrew Sendejo has started the other six, including the final three last year and the first three this year before a knee injury sidelined him at Denver in the game right before the bye.

Bye weeks tend to be when teams make changes. The Vikings already dealt their starting base 4-3 middle linebacker to the 49ers. Might they pull another trigger and give second-year safety Antone Exum his first career start on Sunday against Kansas City?

For obvious reasons, Zimmer was dodging that question on Wednesday.

Asked about the strong safety position, Zimmer said, “It’s fluid. Just keep working them.”

Exum has been the preferred candidate to step up and seize the position since the end of last season. But the coaching staff remains reluctant because Exum hasn’t proven that he understands the defense well enough.

Asked if Exum has finally shown some progress, Zimmer said, “Some. We’ll see how he does this week.”

Asked if he could see more playing time this week, Zimmer said, “Potentially. If I feel good about him.”

Notes: Wide receiver Mike Wallace was wearing a brace on his left knee and running with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman during the portion of practice open to the media on Wednesday. Wallace finished the Denver game, but sustained the injury when he took a helmet to the knee early in that game. Wallace said Wednesday that the knee felt “extremely good” and that he will play on Sunday. … Running back Adrian Peterson has two 100-yard rushing games this season and four in his past nine games going back to 2013. Both of Peterson’s 100-yard games this season are at home. In Weeks 2-3 against Detroit and San Francisco, Peterson ran for 260 yards on 49 carries.

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