EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) After the Minnesota Vikings took six sacks and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was also hit 10 times in last weekend's loss to the Green Bay Packers, the natural inclination would be to look at the team's patchwork offensive line.
Minnesota's line without stalwarts John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt is an easy target. But the breakdowns last week were two-fold, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
''It wasn't all the offensive line,'' Zimmer said. ''There was times when Teddy didn't get the ball out on time. There was times that we didn't block them, guys missed blocks and their defensive front did a good job, they did.''
A Green Bay defense that hadn't recorded a sack in three games disrupted Bridgewater all day long. Keeping the second-year quarterback healthy and upright will be vital as Minnesota (7-3) tries to stay in playoff contention with a schedule that includes Atlanta and its 10th-ranked defense this weekend.
The Vikings schedule also features games against Seattle (No. 2 overall defense), at Arizona (No. 3) and a second meeting against the Packers.
''There were times where I could have just, whether it's throw the ball away or take a check down and avoid some of those hits, avoid some of those sacks,'' Bridgewater said. ''That's something that I have to continue to work on. That's something that we're going to continue to work on here, just getting the ball out faster.''
Between sacks, Bridgewater completed 25 of his 37 passes for 296 yards last week.
''He stood in there (Sunday) and made some huge throws, taking hits and getting out and scrambling for first downs,'' tight end Kyle Rudolph said after the game. ''You can see that he was hurting, but he just battled through it and continued to make plays for us.''
Bridgewater had to leave the game after a sack and went back to the locker room before returning. He only missed one offensive play.
Bridgewater said Wednesday that he's feeling ''pretty good.'' But he's been battered at times, particularly in losses when the team has been forced to throw. Bridgewater has been sacked 18 times in the team's three losses. His 30 sacks are tied for the fourth-most of any NFL quarterback, but he's taken just 12 in the team's seven wins.
''Sometimes I have to have that clock in my head where I have to understand that every play isn't going to be a successful play, sometimes the defense will have your number,'' Bridgewater said. ''Just have to sometimes throw the ball away, avoid some of those hits, avoid some of those negative plays.''
NOTES: Safety Harrison Smith (left knee) was held out of practice on Wednesday. Smith was injured during Sunday's game but returned to play. Defensive end Everson Griffen (hip/shoulder) also was held out of Wednesday's practice. . Left tackle Matt Kalil (toe), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle) and safety Robert Blanton (ankle) were listed as limited.