Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is entering his second season in the NFL with a tremendous amount of pressure on him to lead the Vikings to the playoffs.
After starting 13 games during his rookie season, Bridgewater offered fans of the quarterback-starved team a reason for optimism, and now that there's no debate about whether he'll be the starter, more expectations are being heaped on the 22-year-old.
Still, you wouldn't know it by how Bridgewater handles himself. He spoke to reporters Thursday and seemed just as cool, calm and collected as he did during the late stages of his rookie campaign.
"I'm excited to get back out there," Bridgewater said. "Training camp has been going good. I'm excited to get back into that game mode, a week of game planning. It's going to be exciting to get out there and compete."
Just how much competing Bridgewater will be doing on Sunday night during the Vikings preseason opener in the Hall of Fame Game against Pittsburgh remains to be seen.
"I have no idea (how much he'll play)," he said. "It's just going to be fun to be able to get back out there, get back in rhythm, in the playing-like field, game-like situations. It's going to be fun to be able to work some situations – third downs, red zones and who knows."
The Pioneer Press notes that with four more preseason games after the Hall of Fame Game, Bridgewater is likely to be on the field for a series or two Sunday night.
With high expectations it might be easy to forget Bridgewater is only entering his second season (first full season as a starter), so there still might be a few bumps along the way. Bridgewater reminded fans of that during Tuesday night's practice, when he threw a pair of interceptions.
But he didn't offer up any excuses.
"The first one was just awful, bad ball placement. I probably should have just thrown the ball to the running back on the swing route, but it happens. It can be avoided. I'd rather it happen out there on the practice field than during the season. Then, the second one, in the two-minute situation, the ball had to go to the end zone. I just tried to lay it out there and give my guy a chance, but Xavier Rhodes, he's a long guy, so you have to be very accurate when you're throwing to his side of the field."