Despite booming popularity among Vikings fans and local observers, it appears Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater still has a lot to prove before he makes believers out of the national media.
Recent pre-season quarterback rankings aren't taking too kindly to the Vikings second-year signal caller.
ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando compiled his annual quarterback rankings with the help of a group of 35 league insiders and experts. The group included general managers, scouts and others. It breaks the quarterbacks down into five different tiers. The group seems to think the jury is still out on Bridgewater as he enters his second season.
The rankings put Bridgewater in the third tier of NFL quarterbacks, tied for the No. 23 spot overall. While it's hard to argue with the top of the list, it's tough not to notice that Bridgewater is the lowest-ranked starting quarterback in the NFC North and even appears behind fellow second-year starter Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders, who tied for 20th overall.
"'I think he is a 3 right now,' a personnel director said. 'He has a lot of confidence, some mobility, some little traits that you like. I just do not think he has a lot of a lot of those traits. He will flash 2, never be a 1 and settle in at being a 3, needing good people around him.'"
While Bridgewater did a nice job of handling the offense without either Adrian Peterson or Mike Wallace – two big play makers he'll have at his disposal this year – Sando notes that scouts continue to have concerns about Bridgewater's arm strength, and whether he'll be good enough to carry a team.
It was a similar story from fellow ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, who ranked Bridgewater 27th on his list of NFL starters – three behind former Vikings starter Matt Cassel, who is now with Buffalo.
The Daily Norseman was quick to note that doubters and naysayers have followed Bridgewater since he dropped to Minnesota with the final pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
"All of these front office folks downplaying Bridgewater's abilities smacks of teams trying to save face for passing on him in the first place."
Bridgewater was able to brush aside many of the doubters in his first season. The Vikings hope he'll be able to dispel many of their concerns in his second year.