CRAWFORD | Vikings' Peterson says he sees 'greatness' in Bridgew - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Vikings' Peterson says he sees 'greatness' in Bridgewater

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Teddy Bridgewater. (AP photo) Teddy Bridgewater. (AP photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — File this under least surprising development of the year. Teddy Bridgewater continues to impress people in the NFL, even when he isn’t under center.

The latest? Minnesota Vikings running back and teammate Adrian Peterson, who when asked about Bridgewater by ESPN this week, had a strong vote of confidence for the former University of Louisville quarterback.

“When I look in his eyes, I see greatness," Peterson said. "I see a young man who’s -- even now, he’s matured more, and he wants to be great. He has that leadership, he has that leader inside him and it’s coming out even more. He just has a good spirit. He has a good soul, a good spirit. And when you combine that with talent, and the mindset that he has, greatness will come out."

I’ve said it since he left, but I’m not sure I’ve written it much since he left — Bridgewater was a singular moment in U of L football history. What he did, and the way he did it, elevated the program. I wrote that at the time.

He was a professional the day he walked on campus. Nobody had paid him anything, but he carried himself like a pro. He did interviews like a pro. He conducted himself like a pro.

He didn’t go out. He didn’t blow up. I think Charlie Strong’s influence on him was immense. Players on those U of L teams seemed to almost idolize Strong, and by the end of his time at U of L, they talked about Bridgewater with the same reverence.

That Bridgewater slipped to the end of the first round of the NFL Draft was a farce. Johnny Manziel is well on his way to fumbling his chance at pro football.

Bridgewater, despite being pressured on nearly 40 percent of his dropbacks last season, threw only nine interceptions. Just as impressive, despite running for his life for much of the season, Bridgewater never complained, always stayed positive, and delivered when he could.

Because of the way he carries himself, and because he’s remained positive, his influence in the clubhouse has grown, according to Vikings QB coach Scott Turner.

“He's really moved into that leadership role," Turner said in a recent Vikings.com interview. "I think guys gravitate towards him. He feels comfortable now telling guys what to do if they messed up,  holding guys accountable. You get that from another player, I think it goes a long way instead of just hearing it from coaches."

The leadership has always been there — and the dedication, the work ethic, the attention to detail.

Now the Vikings need technique. They need him to stretch the field to loosen up defenses. They need him, in his third season in the league, to do more.

“Teddy's really done a great job," Turner told Vikings.com. "We worked on some technique issues. We worked on throwing the ball down the field. I know that's what everybody wants to hear.  It's something that we focus on, and Teddy's done a great job with it."

Bridgewater’s rather pedestrian passing numbers over two season have drawn some criticism. But there’s good reason for that. He hasn’t been asked to do a great deal for the Vikings’ offense. And he hasn’t had great protection to do it with.

He was the NFL’s most-pressured quarterback last season. But get this, he also was its most accurate quarterback, with an accuracy percentage of 79.3, according to stats from Pro Football Focus.

He has work to do. But helping his team to the NFC North title in his second season was no small thing.

If you’ve watched him for very long, you don’t have many doubts about Bridgewater. Now, his Minnesota teammates are starting to feel the same way.

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