EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Teddy Bridgewater wants to win, of course, a given when it comes to any NFL player's public commentary.
The other stated goal this week? To make that absence from the field a one-game blip.
Bridgewater said Wednesday he feels 100 percent healthy after spraining his left ankle in the fourth quarter of his first NFL start, Sept. 28 against Atlanta. The Minnesota Vikings held their rookie quarterback out last week at Green Bay with only three days for him to heal.
Now, with nine more days to get ready for the game against Detroit, there's little doubt who will be taking the snaps Sunday.
''The ankle's feeling good. I'm excited to get back out there,'' Bridgewater said.
The Vikings sure missed him in that 42-10 loss to the Packers, when Christian Ponder filled in and threw 22 incompletions, including two interceptions. One was returned for a touchdown, and the other set one up.
''It was very hard,'' Bridgewater said of having to watch instead of play. ''Especially being a competitor, you always want to be out there with the guys.''
Bridgewater didn't directly answer questions about whether he lobbied coach Mike Zimmer to play in the shortened week, but he didn't hint of any discontent with the decision. Bridgewater, fast becoming a polished, poised guy at the podium who's as quick with the company line and he is moving around in the pocket, repeatedly praised the rehabilitation work he's done with athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and his staff. He said he won't wear a brace on the ankle and isn't worried about being able to cut and plant.
Bridgewater said he doesn't think he has to prove anything about his durability, but he acknowledged a desire for career longevity.
''I want to be the guy, for 10-plus years,'' he said.
Zimmer said he had ''no concern'' about Bridgewater's availability this week. Even against a Lions defense that has allowed the fewest yards per game in the NFL and the second-fewest points per game, the expectations will be there for him to play as productively and capably as he did in that dazzling debut against the Falcons.
''My expectations are probably as high as everybody else's. I understand that there will be some bumps and bruises along the way with all the young guys and young quarterbacks,'' Zimmer said. ''But Teddy is a super competitor. He's got a lot of poise, and he's got a lot of talent. I hope his expectations are high.''
NOTES: Zimmer said he expects strong safety Harrison Smith to play against the Lions. Smith has shed the walking boot on his sprained left ankle and was doing some running on the side at the beginning of practice along with linebacker Chad Greenway, whose availability is again in doubt because of broken ribs. ... Adrian Peterson's trial in Texas on a charge of child abuse has been tentatively set for Dec. 1, but Zimmer said that didn't change his outlook on whether or not the running back could rejoin the team this season. ''I believe in him, that he's a good guy. So I wish the best for Adrian, and then we'll worry about the rest when more concrete news comes out,'' Zimmer said.
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