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Bleacher Report – Vikings

These 2 things show that Mike Zimmer no doubt has Teddy Bridgewater’s back

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Mike Zimmer loves Teddy Bridgewater.

The sometimes-gruff, typically blunt football coach has made that clear in the past.

For a guy who rarely shows his emotions in an animated way away from the football field, it was clear Zimmer struggled through Tuesday. One minute, he’s at the helm of a football team that people are talking about as having legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. The next minute, Vikings medical staff is scrambling to assist his fallen quarterback, as Teddy Bridgewater lay on the ground early in the practice session, his left knee somehow torn apart without any hit from another player.

Not three hours later, Zimmer was at a dais, explaining to the media how the team would soldier on, and putting on a brave face despite being shaken to the point that his voice quivered once or twice.

If you needed more proof that the head coach of the Vikings is in the corner of the quarterback who now faces a lengthy recovery and rehab process, consider two things from Monday’s Vikings practice. One is a short sentence that packs a punch, the other is a cute story that humanizes a guy you might only think of as a football lifer.

Item 1) During his answer to a reporter’s question, Zimmer said he felt “extremely bad for Teddy,” and perhaps more informatively, he said that he never thought he’d have another quarterback in his head coaching career, other than Bridgewater. For someone who’s been in the game as long as Zimmer and absolutely understands the turnover from year to year, I thought that was an impactful statement.

Sunday he’ll have another quarterback, either Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford, but the point still stands. That fact might even underscore it. Zimmer felt — or still feels — that he’s hitched to Bridgewater for the long haul.

Item 2) If you don’t like cutesy stories you’ll want to abandon this post at this point.

Bridgewater is less than a week removed from a career- and life-altering injury that will at a minimum wipe out his 2016 season while his team seemingly is on the cusp of great things. Still, Bridgewater is at the team’s practice facility on a daily basis. He released a statement to the press a few days after that practice he’d probably like to forget, and he wrote that note by hand, Zimmer said, from the heart.

“In order to have a testimony, you have to have a test,” Bridgewater wrote. “I come from amazing DNA, I watched my mom fight and win against breast cancer. We will, as a team, attack my rehab with the same vigor and energy. My faith is strong, my faith is unwavering and my vision is clear. My purpose will not be denied.”

Back to the story.

So Bridgewater’s at the team facility every day, and one of his buddies, Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes likes to play a little joke on the hobbled quarterback by untying the laces of Bridgewater’s shoes. Bridgewater’s mobility currently isn’t what it once was, so he can’t reach down to tie those shoes.

That’s where the head coach appears.

“He’s here every day down here in the training room, same kid as he always been always with a smile on his face,” Zimmer said of Bridgewater. “Xavier Rhodes always comes in and unties his shoe. You know he’s sitting and you know he can’t reach his shoe, so Xav does it and I was down there today and I tied it for him. I’m the shoe-tier now.”

Zimmer said it with a wink of his left eye as a supressed smile spread across his face.

“Does that job come with a pay raise?” a reporter asked.

“No, but he deserves it,” Zimmer said.

The post These 2 things show that Mike Zimmer no doubt has Teddy Bridgewater’s back appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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