Teddy Bridgwater will miss the entire 2016 season after suffering a torn ACL in practice Tuesday, and almost overnight the Vikings went from Super Bowl contenders to possibly missing the playoffs.
But let’s get one thing straight. The Vikings don’t have to replace Randall Cunningham. They don’t have to replace an in-his-prime Daunte Culpepper. They have to replace a guy who threw for 14 touchdowns last season.
“It’s interesting because I think there was this state of mourning over Teddy Bridgewater,” NFL Network and FoxSports.com analyst Peter Schrager said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show, “and I got a text from an NFL agent saying, ‘Watching the show, I respect the hell out of what you guys are saying, but this wasn’t Aaron Rodgers and this wasn’t Tom Brady. This is Teddy Bridgewater, who might be the 18th- or 19th-best quarterback in the league.’ So your counter to that is that Shaun Hill is very competent, they’re going to complete the same percentage of passes, he’s not going to have the same athleticism and there’s not the same long-term upside. But this team is built on running the football and playing great defense. They almost won a payoff game (against Seattle) last year, if Blair Walsh makes that field goal. That final score was 12-10, so it’s not like this was a light-it-up offense anyway, but I don’t know what they’re going to do. There’s a few ways they can go, but they could also just ride it out with Shaun Hill and then see who comes up.”
“Now the interesting part to me was you had a guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick who signed at the witching hour to the Jets,” Schrager continued. “Now what happens if Fitzpatrick didn’t sign? Would he have been able to get a lot of money from a lot of these teams? Would there have been multiple suitors? Because now you’ve got several teams who have quarterback issues and they’re looking for that veteran. But the typical names you’re hearing are the Charlie Whitehursts, the Michael Vicks. Do you trade for a Mike Glennon? Nothing is going to wow you. Nothing is Teddy Bridgewater, and quite personally, nothing is Shaun Hill, who has been in that organization for two years and knows the playbook inside and out.”
As for Colin Kaepernick, his days in San Francisco could be numbered – which may or may not be good for all parties involved.
“The X-factor of what it is doesn’t matter; the fact that it’s something does matter,” Schrager said, referring to the controversy surrounding Kaepernick. “I’m just thinking about these NFL coaches and how down-to-the-minute their days are regimented and how down-to-the-very-second everyone’s day is laid out beforehand, to have this going on right now (is a distraction). Look, Chip has been completely on board – at least on record – saying Colin can do what he’s got to do. . . . But I have to think someone in that organization is saying, ‘Man, could you have done this is June? Could you have done this in July? Could you have done this maybe in April? Because now the season is starting and this is what they’re dealing with. If he is released, which is possible after Thursday’s game, I actually think it’d be more of a dollars-and-cents thing than a social-statement thing if they release him.
“Here’s one thing that I would note, though,” Schrager continued. “If Colin Kaepernick is out of football this year, that, for his cause, could be the best thing. Because suddenly the eye is on him all year and he has more of a platform. He said (he has) trouble sleeping at night because I’m looking at the mirror and I know what’s going on in the street. So if he’s not playing football this year and he doesn’t necessarily have the uniform on where he’s going to be a backup quarterback to Blaine Gabbert, maybe this is his true calling. Maybe this is the best thing that can happen to him.”