EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Even after suffering a concussion that appeared to knock him out cold on the turf last Sunday, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was able to greet his teammates warmly as they came off the field following another victory.
Bridgewater was back at practice on Wednesday, keeping the optimism high that he will be back on the field this Sunday in Oakland.
''He's progressing nicely,'' coach Mike Zimmer said.
Bridgewater was a limited participant during the first practice of the week and was unavailable for comment.
He was knocked out of the game against St. Louis on Sunday by a hit to the head from Rams defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, one of several hits by the Rams that had Zimmer steamed after the game. Veteran Shaun Hill replaced Bridgewater in the fourth quarter and did just enough to help the team to a 21-18 overtime victory that helped the Vikings (6-2) move into a tie with Green Bay for first place in the NFC North.
''Shaun's got a great grasp of things, he's extremely smart,'' Zimmer said. ''It's really about just going out there and getting reps and executing it. I think we're fortunate to have Shaun. ... He gets the ball out. He knows where to go. He's accurate.''
It appears that Hill will not be needed to start the game this weekend, but Zimmer did say he is looking for more out of the passing game, which ranks 30th in the league.
As promising as Bridgewater has looked at times in his second season, particularly late in games, Zimmer said he is looking for the poised youngster to let loose more often earlier in the games.
''We have to do better in our passing game, there's no question about it,'' Zimmer said. ''Sometimes it's protection. Sometimes it's the routes. Sometimes it's (receivers) covered. Sometimes we're not making the correct reads or the correct throws. So we've got to do better there.''
Linebackers Anthony Barr (hand) and Eric Kendricks (ribs) were held out of practice on Wednesday, two key absences to watch as the week progresses. Kendricks missed the game last week and his backup - Audie Cole - was lost for the season with a broken left ankle.
The Vikings signed linebacker Jason Trusnik on Monday to add some depth at the position, and he was in uniform for practice on Wednesday. He played for Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards previously in Miami.
AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL