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Vikings hoping Bridgewater is a great one

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Everyone knows the Minnesota Vikings want to get it right this time.

Teddy Bridgewater is our fledgling quarterback this season and the Vikes are counting on him to take them to the Super Bowl in the years ahead. Just a few seasons ago the Vikes were counting on Christian Ponder to be that player. Hopes rose when he helped them make the NFC playoffs in 2012, but he was just plain disappointing in 2013. We expect our quarterbacks to come out of college wearing a high polish these days because the college game is so good. Ponder has never shown the accuracy to be one of the great ones.

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Yes, the Vikings could have drafted flashy Johnny Manziel back in May but when your defensive unit needs the kind of overhaul their unit needed, you have to go after someone like Anthony Barr. Someone at Winter Park would have been found hanging from the goal post if they had passed up a talent like Barr in the first round.

Defense wins championships but when you look at your best playoff teams, they almost always have an exceptional quarterback at the helm. Guys like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady do not just fall out of the trees.

Bridgewater might be a great one in time but right now he rates with Manziel and Blake Bortles as a promising rookie. First-round quarterbacks may be eye candy for football fans but they do not come with the guarantee of a Super Bowl trip. Look at RGIII, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. They have given their teams a stake in the playoffs but none of them have been to the Super Bowl yet.

Building a great NFL quarterback takes time, it takes hard work and it takes a good organization. Think about it. In the NFL on any given game day there are only 32 men in the country quarterbacking an NFL team. When a game has been lost very few people point at a third-string guard and say, "he lost the game for us," but there are usually plenty of fans willing to blame the quarterback. Most athletes get by with being human. The NFL quarterback has to be superhuman.

Expect Bridgewater to get more than his fair share of playing time when the Vikings tangle with Oakland on Friday night in their first pre-season game. If you were Mike Zimmer or Norv Turner wouldn't you want to see what your quarterback of the future can do? There are some very good things being said about this young man. He is a competitor and he keeps his poise in the face of the blitz. Ponder has many of the physical attributes of a quarterback but Bridgewater has many of the intangibles. Let Turner work with Bridgewater and see if he can turn him into one of those elite professionals. He had quite a bit of success with a kid named Aikman back in the 1990s when he was with the Dallas Cowboys.

I am in Matt Cassel's corner for now, not because he an exceptional quarterback, but because he is a veteran quarterback. The Vikings are going to be a young club this season and they will need their veterans on offense and defense on the field if they hope to contend in the NFC North.

Bridgewater? His time is certainly going to come and perhaps a lot sooner than anyone realizes.

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