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Vikings’ Zimmer wants to see a bigger Bridgewater

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Teddy Bridgewater expects more out of his play in his second season and Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer wants to see more pounds added to the quarterback’s frame.

“I wasn’t impressed,” Bridgewater told the Pioneer Press about his rookie season. “Yes, we did some good things as a team, but we could have been much better finishing games. That’s what separates championship teams and determining whether you’re playing games in January or watching games in January.”

Bridgewater didn’t start last season for the Vikings until after Matt Cassel broke his foot in Week 3. Bridgewater developed steadily from week to week.

Bridgewater finished with a 6-6 record in his 12 starts while throwing for 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 64.4 completion percentage is the third-highest by a rookie in NFL history, while his 85.2 passer rating is the seventh-best by a rookie in league history.

Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the best thing Bridgewater can do this offseason is to get bigger.

“He needs to add a little bit more strength, a little more weight on him,” Zimmer said. “He’s about 210 pounds, we’re trying to get him around 218, somewhere in that range. But he has to continue to develop with the receivers we have.”

Zimmer hopes Bridgewater will devote time this offseason preparing with his receivers.

“I know he’s spending some time with those guys,” Zimmer said. “I believe it’s this week he has a bunch of guys coming down to see him (in Miami). That stuff I feel good about, the way he progressed throughout the season. We anticipate that he’ll continue to progress at that pace. He has to continue to make the right decisions and take the plays that are there for him. All of those things are going to lead to his development. The great thing about him is he wants to work and get better every day. I feel really good about him. He’s the quality of guy that we really want to have here.”

The Vikings acquired wide receiver Mike Wallace in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Wallace had two 1,000-yard seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him in the first round in 2009. With Miami, he recorded 73 receptions for 930 yards and five touchdowns in 2013 and 67 catches for 862 yards and 10 scores in 2014.

The addition of Wallace should make Bridgewater that much more effective.

“Well, you know I love Teddy and love the way that he prepares, everything he does. Teddy makes a lot of people around him better,” Zimmer said. “The more weapons we can put around Teddy, the more explosive I think we’ll be offensively. That will continue to help us in all areas of the team, defense and special teams as well Mike Zimmer.

“Mike (Wallace) is a guy I competed against for a number of years when he was in Pittsburgh, and he was a guy you always had to pay special attention to, a guy that can open up a lot of different areas. If they’re not using two guys on him, then you have a chance to create some big, big plays in the passing game. He does a good job of running after the catch, does a good job on reverses, some of the screens he does, and getting in and out of breaks.”


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