Bridgewater slipped in the draft due to concerns about his slight frame, inconsistent deep ball accuracy, and underwhelming pro day workout. However, Bridgewater could not have fallen into a better situation for his development. With a running game featuring All-Pro Adrian Peterson, an offensive coordinator that has a history of success, and an offense that has major big play ability, Bridgewater is in a situation to flourish from day one.
During Bridgewater’s senior year at Louisville, he threw for over 3,900 yards, and had a touchdown-to-ratio of 31:4. Bridgewater was also phenomenal when under pressure. Bridgewater sure earned the nickname GUMP (Great Under Mass Pressure), having a completion percentage of 76.92 percent when facing a blitz and 62.96 percent when facing pressure from the defense. With defenses focusing to stop Adrian Peterson, Bridgewater will have many opportunities to throw to man-to-man coverage.
Bridgewater has plenty of playmakers around him to assist in his development. A receiving corps featuring second year wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson, veteran receiver Greg Jennings, and tight end Kyle Rudolph are a talented group. With offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s history of using his tight ends heavily in the passing game, and commitment to throw the ball down the field, the Vikings receiving corps has an increased fantasy value next season.
The most important part of Bridgewater’s development is to build chemistry with 2nd year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. In his rookie year, Patterson displayed electric playmaking ability. Reports from Vikings training camp are that Patterson has improved as a route runner, an area that was considered a weak point of his game by scouts. With Bridgewater’s elite short ball accuracy, and Patterson’s ability to make people miss in the open field, the Vikings could have found a deadly connection for years to come.
In Viking’s Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner’s offensive scheme it is essential for the quarterback to be accurate in the intermediate (11-20 yards) area of the field. According to Rotoworld, Bridgewater was the most accurate quarterback in this years draft class to the intermediate level of the field. His PRR completion percentage, which accounts for drops by the receivers, was at a robust 68.49%. With playmakers like Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings on the outside, there is a lot of big play potential for an offense that was stagnated by inconsistent quarterback play.
In a perfect world The Vikings coaching staff would probably like to sit Bridgewater for the first few weeks of the season. However, Head Coach Mike Zimmer has still not announced veteran Matt Cassel as the starter. If Bridgewater can show in game situations that he is capable of moving the ball, there is a good chance the Vikings throw Bridgewater into the fire Week 1 against the Rams.
If you are able to land one of the premier quarterbacks (Manning, Brees, Rodgers) in the first couple rounds of your fantasy draft, I strongly suggest waiting until the later rounds to draft a back up. With a great running game, an improving receiving corps, and an offensive coordinator who has a history for running some of the most prolific offenses in NFL history, the rookie quarterback will be in a great situation to succeed early in his career.