Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater isn’t sure about his status for Thursday’s Week 5 matchup against the Packers, but he felt he could’ve returned in the 41-28 victory over the Falcons on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Vikings said Bridgewater suffered a sprained ankle and will get an MRI on Sunday. He sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter on a 3rd and goal quarterback sneak from the 2-yard line. He remained in the game on 4th and goal, but Bridgewater was carted to the locker room as quarterback Christian Ponder took the field on the next offensive series.
Bridgewater returned to the sideline after x-rays came back negative and showed no structural damage.
“I’m going to spend as much time as I can with [head athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman and the training staff that we have here,” Bridgewater said. “That will be a decision that they can make.”
Bridgewater said he suffered the injury trying to make a cut and rolled his ankle in a non-contact injury. Ponder finished the game with the Vikings holding a comfortable two-score lead once Bridgewater returned to the sideline.
In his first career start, Bridgewater went 19 of 30 for 317 yards. He also had five carries for 27 yards, including a 13-yard run for his first career NFL touchdown.
“Everything just came naturally as far as the offense and the system that we have here,” Bridgewater said. “The guys did a great job of understanding the terminology and the concepts that we wanted to run today. It’s just a great team effort.”
First of all, Teddy Bridgewater was everything we pretty much said he was capable of being when we did our Sunday story on him today. He keeps a calm head about him and is careful with the ball. That’s two great traits for a rookie making his first NFL start.
However, if I had to hand out an MVP trophy for this one, I’d split it into five parts and give it to the offensive linemen. We all spent the week raising our eyebrows at Matt Kalil and questioning Vladimir Ducasse as a long-term solution at right guard. But the line played so well, that Bridgewater wasn’t sacked and was barely pressured throughout the night. And that fourth-and-goal call at the 1 at the end of the game? That was an easy call because the line was dominating, as evidenced by the 241 yards rushing it had on 44 carries (5.5).
Defensively, there were some concerns about the same old issue of not getting off the field on third down. But when the Falcons went ahead 28-27, the Vikings’ defense shut things down on the top-ranked offense in the league. That was impressive.
The Vikings lead the Falcons 24-14 at halftime at TCF Bank Stadium. Kicker Blair Walsh hit a 18-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Vikings a two-score lead.
The Good: The “Teddy” chants began before rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater stepped on the field. The fans started chanting on fourth down when the Falcons punted on the opening drive, but he’s giving those at TCF Bank Stadium something to cheer about.
After the Vikings went seven quarters without scoring a touchdown, they have three in the first half. He’s 11 of 16 for 197 passing yards and has two carries for 16 yards, including a 13-yard rushing touchdown with 1:59 left in the first half.
The offense has been very productive, beyond Bridgewater. Running back Matt Asiata has two rushing touchdowns, while rookie running back Jerick McKinnon broke out a 55-yard run on his first carry. Wide receiver Jarius Wright also leads the receivers with five catches for 105 yards.
Give credit to the offensive line as well, which has done a good job protecting Bridgewater and creating lanes for McKinnon and Asiata.
The Bad: The only drive the Vikings didn’t score was on a 49-yard field goal kicker Walsh missed with 11:26 left in the first half. He sailed the kick wide right to the west end zone, which is the open end of TCF Bank Stadium. The wide was whipping left to right on the kick to drift the kick no good. Walsh was 5 for 5 before the miss.
The Ugly: The defense has been susceptible of allowing big plays this year, which has been its biggest issue through three games. That continued through the first half again. The Vikings allowed four catches of 20 yards or more during the first half with two occurring on each touchdown drive for the Falcons. They allowed the Falcons to convert on a 3rd and 20 at the Falcons 44. Quarterback Matt Ryan connected with a wide receiver Julio Jones, who was wide open, for 21 yards.
Ryan went 14 of 23 for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Julio Jones has four catches for 50 yards. Roddy White has two catches for 44 yards, including a wide open 24-yard touchdown reception.