Panthers vs Vikings: The Latest Chapter in the Teddy Bridgewater Story

The Teddy Bridgewater story continues this Sunday
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Jan 10, 2016

Teddy Bridgewater has led the Minnesota Vikings to an NFC North division title and a home playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. The January winds are swirling making it feel like -25 degrees at kickoff. The Vikings are playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium while they wait for the completion of their brand new indoor venue, U.S. Bank Stadium. 

The score is 10-9 Seahawks. There are one minute and forty-two seconds left in the game. The Vikings have the ball at their own 39-yard line. Teddy throws a deep pass down the right sideline and it falls incomplete but the Seattle defender is flagged for pass interference. Teddy drops back again and completes a pass to his tight end who brings it all the way down to the Seahawks' 18 yard-line. The Vikings run the ball a few times with All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson to drain the clock. 

Kicker Blair Walsh is set up perfectly for the game-winning field goal. He is three-for-three on the day. He's even hit a 47-yarder. This one is just 27 yards out. The ball is on the left hash. The snap is perfect. The hold is perfect. Walsh pushes it left and all of the air is sucked out of Minnesota - he missed. The Seahawks advance to the divisional round and the Vikings season is over. Not all hope is lost, however. One thing is certain: the future is bright for young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Aug 30, 2016

Teddy is getting ready to defend the NFC North title. Just two days prior, he completed 12-16 of his passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' third preseason game. The third preseason game is usually referred to as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. Teddy looked as sharp as he did the previous season. 

Teddy drops back in a normal everyday drill like he has done thousands of times throughout his football-playing life. He plants his foot and then hits the turf with no defenders around him. It was a non-contact drill. Teammates are distraught. They know all too well what this means. Their starting quarterback is on the grass and not getting up. 10 minutes later an ambulance arrives and it is all but confirmed that Teddy has torn the ACL in his left knee along with other structural damage.

The 23-year-old quarterback was poised to lead his team back to the postseason. Now he is looking at a long road of rehabilitation if he hopes to get back to the player that he used to be. His career in the NFL is in question.

May 1, 2017

Almost a full year after Teddy suffered the knee injury the Vikings choose to decline the quarterback's fifth-year option. This would allow the former first-round pick to hit free agency in 2018. Minnesota has chosen to look at other options to find their franchise quarterback. A title that at one point was thought to be reserved for Mr. Bridgewater.

Nov 29, 2020

Bridgewater is back under center as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Teddy will travel to U.S. Bank Stadium only he won't be wearing purple. He will be wearing the Carolina Panther logo on the side of his sparkling silver helmet. 

The NFL is a business first and foremost. Each team does what they think is in the best interest of their main goal which is winning. Nobody can really blame the Vikings for moving on from an injured quarterback in favor of a healthy one. Teddy is not a guy that seems to hold grudges nor does he carry a chip on his shoulder. Still, there has to be a little added motivation for the upcoming matchup. Teddy's story has been a very interesting one. This seems to be the full-circle moment. It would be nice to complete it with a victory. 

Teddy on returning to Minnesota:

"Each week, my mind turns a page and focuses on what's next. I'm aware that I get the opportunity to go back to Minnesota, play a game there, get to see some familiar faces again but at the end of the day what is most important is coming out of that game with a victory. For me, it's just another opportunity to do what I love to do, you can't make these games bigger than what they are. I'm aware of the storyline and the build up but it's the most important game because it's the next game."

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