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Teddy Bridgewater must be better

The Minnesota Vikings were hoping to be a sleeper in the NFC playoff race, and that is exactly what they are six weeks into the 2015 National Football League regular season. Minnesota is sitting at 3-2, coming off an uninspiring 16-10 win over the pathetic Kansas City Chiefs.

The Vikings were mostly expected to compete because of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and the return of All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, who missed the final 15 games of the 2014 regular season due to legal issues. With both of them in the fold, in addition to speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace, many pundits believed Minnesota would compete for a wild card spot.

Even though the record is solid, the play has not been. The Vikings have only beaten the Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions, teams with a combined record of 4-14. The losses have come to the underwhelming San Francisco 49ers and the defensive-minded Denver Broncos, both of those games coming on the road.

The main problem has been a leaky offensive line, that without center John Sullivan and right tackle Phil Loadholt is allowing far too much penetration, especially on running downs. However, there also needs to be some blame assigned to Bridgewater, who had two 300-yard passing games in December of last season, only to look like a game-manager extraordinaire this time around.

In five games in 2015, Bridgewater has thrown for only 1,023 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Twice, Bridgewater made horrific throws against the Chiefs, turning the ball over on Kansas City’s side of the field. The first came on a poor decision, costing him a pick to Ron Parker in the end zone. The latter was a bad read, although credit must be given to rookie cornerback Marcus Peters, who made a tremendous play.

Still, the former University of Louisville star and Heisman hopeful is not providing the kind of spark needed if the Vikings are going to stay in the race. Bridgewater does not have an inspiring group of receivers, although Stefon Diggs is coming along nicely. The youngster has 13 receptions for 216 yards, all in limited duty. In fact, Diggs made his first start last Sunday.

Luckily for Minnesota, Bridgewater has some time to get his act together, in theory. The schedule remains easy, with the next four games coming against the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders. Yet, only the contest against St. Louis will be played at TCF Bank Stadium. Bridgewater will finally need to notch a road victory this season.

The slate is brutally tough after those games, with matchups against the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. The season then ends with the New York Giants and a trip to Green Bay.

Things are rosy now, but if Bridgewater does not get his act together, the ceiling will be caving in shortly.

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