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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Jerick McKinnon says Teddy Bridgewater makes teammates ‘feel like he’s with us’

By Derek Wetmore

After more than a year of recovering from an injury that nearly cost him his leg, Teddy Bridgewater returns to practice with the Minnesota Vikings.

Head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters on Monday that the popular quarterback will return to practice, although he won’t yet be activated from the PUP list, Zimmer said. That return starts the clock on Bridgewater’s return, which could happen within the next 21 days. “He’ll stay on the PUP list until he’s ready to play,” Zimmer said.

Still, at least one teammate couldn’t hide his excitement at the prospect of having the former first-round pick back on the practice field for real.

“To see a guy like that be able to get back and be able to do what he’s done, it’s great,” Jerick McKinnon told reporters. “So I know everybody’s excited to having him back at practice and looking forward to it.”

If he can get back into game shape and actually set foot on an NFL field in the coming weeks, Bridgewater would become the third Vikings’ quarterback to start a game this season. Starter Sam Bradford is dealing with a persistent knee issue, backup Case Keenum has played well in spots and not so well in others, and Bridgewater is hoping to overcome an injury that skeptics said might end his career.

“It’s all about his dedication, his hard work, his mindset to get back on the playing field, which you knew he would from the very jump. He had faith the whole time and he believed in himself [even] if nobody else believed in him,” Everson Griffen said. “I know I believed in him, I know this team believed in him, this organization believed in him. He’s the man behind all the work.”

Zimmer announces Bridgewater will practice this week

Of course, this week’s practices won’t be Bridgewater’s first appearances with the team. He’s been around Winter Park consistently throughout his recovery process – even dating back to last year post-surgery, when he was spotted in the locker room on crutches following a torn ACL, dislocated knee cap, and other damage. And he’s been a regular fixture on the sidelines during Vikings games. Teammates took notice.

“I think it means a lot to everybody,” McKinnon said. “It lets us know that he’s here with us. He could be somewhere else but he’d rather sit here and grind it out with us. As teammates, it just makes us feel like, ‘OK, he’s with us.’”

That earned him points in some corners. What is it that makes him so popular among his teammates?

“His attitude. Leadership. His will to want to be better, want to get back out there with us. All that put together,” McKinnon said. “And on top of that, just how great of a guy he is.”

The post Jerick McKinnon says Teddy Bridgewater makes teammates ‘feel like he’s with us’ appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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