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Good chance Bridgewater will start in preseason finale

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All signs are pointing to the first professional start for Vikings' first round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater.

Without making an official announcement on Tuesday, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said there is a good chance the rookie will get the start during the preseason finale on Thursday night in Tennessee.

According to the Pioneer Press, Zimmer didn't want to say for sure since he hasn't talked to everyone involved.

"If [Bridgewater] does start the game, it's good for us to see how he takes the beginning of a game," Zimmer told reporters Tuesday.

It would be the first time he has started a game since the Russell Athletic Bowl last December – in his final game with Louisville.

Zimmer has already named Matt Cassel the starting quarterback for the Vikings' regular season opener at St. Louis on Sept. 7.

Bridgewater has played well in three preseason games. He has completed 26 of 40 passes for 266 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Most of his playing time, though, has come in the second half or against the second units of the Vikings' opponents.

Cassel matched Bridgewater's success in the preseason. So with his role already figured out with the team, it now becomes about making sure he gets to the season opener healthy.

Bridgewater didn't have a problem with Zimmer's decision. When he spoke to reporters Monday he said he will continue to learn and improve under Cassel.

According to ESPN's Ben Goessling, Christian Ponder will play on Thursday night as well. Ponder hasn't played since the first preseason game.

Goessling notes that several other Vikings could also sit out Thursday's preseason finale.

"First-round pick Anthony Barr has a minor sprained ankle, coach Mike Zimmer said, and won't play on Thursday. Neither will right tackle Phil Loadholt, who bruised his ankle last Saturday against Kansas City, or defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who still expects to be ready for the start of the regular season after getting hit in the left calf with a bullet on Aug. 9.

Linebackers Gerald Hodges (ankle), Michael Mauti (foot) and Brandon Watts (leg), cornerback Jabari Price (arm) and safety Jamarca Sanford (quadriceps) are all expected to sit out on Thursday, and wide receiver Rodney Smith could also miss the game after hurting his back and neck recovering an onside kick last Saturday."

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