EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and a torn ACL when he went down during a noncontact drill at practice Tuesday.
“Teddy suffered a complete tear to his ACL and other structural damage,” the team said in a statement Tuesday evening after Bridgewater underwent an MRI. “Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage.”
Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a drill, planted his foot and immediately went down. Trainers rushed to his side and began inflating an aircast, while the quarterback appeared to be holding his left leg.
Mike Zimmer delivers ‘keep fighting’ message at news conference
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer channeled his late father’s “find a way” advice and choked back tears at one point in an emotional news conference Tuesday as he discussed the injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Best quarterback fits for Vikings
Could the Vikings turn to Colin Kaepernick to fill in for the injured Teddy Bridgewater? John Clayton thinks the 49ers QB is Minnesota’s best option. Here’s who else the Vikings could target.
Vikings part ways with 8-year vet John Sullivan
Minnesota Vikings release center John Sullivan, an eight-year veteran, after he was beaten out by Joe Berger.
Several players threw their helmets and shouted expletives as they scattered, and many simultaneously dropped to one knee in prayer. Moments later, a siren-blaring ambulance pulled into the team’s Winter Park headquarters, stayed for about 10 minutes and then pulled away.
The team called off Tuesday’s practice — its last of the preseason — after Bridgewater was injured.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he briefly spoke with Bridgewater after the injury and said he told the 23-year-old, “Hang in there, we’re with him. Hope for the best.”
Bridgewater was still on the practice field grass as the team’s public relations staff ushered reporters from the premises.
“Today is a disappointing day. … The No. 1 thing is Teddy is such a great kid,” Zimmer said. “Everyone loves him.”
Players were visibly distraught as they exited the field, and Zimmer said he spoke with the team prior to addressing the media.
“We’re gonna grieve today and be upset about it,” Zimmer told reporters. “It’s more about our feelings for Teddy and for him as a person and getting better than it is about anything else. Teddy’s a great kid and he’ll be back as soon as he possibly can, if it is real bad. But we’re going to keep fighting.”
Players from all over the NFL took to Twitter to show their support of Bridgewater.
There is little behind Bridgewater on the depth chart. Shaun Hill is the primary backup, but he’s 36 years old and has played only sparingly over the past five years.
“I have confidence in Shaun, I think he’s played great this preseason,” Zimmer said. “The thing we all have to remember is this is about the team. We have a good team.”
Bridgewater is entering his third season in the NFL and the Vikings were counting on him to take major steps forward after a promising start to his career. He helped lead the Vikings to the NFC North championship last season as more of a game manager, but Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have said that they expected him to be much more of a playmaker in 2016.
Bridgewater missed the second preseason game with a sore shoulder, but was sharp on Sunday against San Diego. He went 12-for-16 for 161 yards and a touchdown in two quarters, leaving Vikings players and fans confident as the team starts to prepare for the season opener at Tennessee on Sept. 11.
The Vikings said Bridgewater is expected to make a full recovery.
A Model Of Efficiency
Though Teddy Bridgewater, 23, has the third-shortest average yards per pass in the past two seasons, he has the best completion percentage ever for a QB under the age of 25.
Teddy Bridgewater 64.9
Russell Wilson 64.1
Robert Griffin III 63.9
— ESPN Stats & Information
The Vikings host the Los Angeles Rams in their final preseason game Thursday night, though Bridgewater and most of the starters were not expected to play.
Minnesota was a popular Super Bowl bet in Las Vegas. As of Sunday at the Westgate SuperBook, only the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots had attracted more bets to win the Super Bowl than the Vikings.
The Westgate moved the Vikings’ Super Bowl odds from 20-1 to 30-1 Tuesday afternoon, following news of Bridgewater’s injury.
“Everybody can count us out but I think that’d be the wrong thing to do,” Zimmer said.