The Vikings improved to 2-0 in the pre-season by beating the Arizona Cardinals 30-28 at TCF Stadium, a day after breaking training camp in Mankato for the 49th year. The Vikings finished the home version of the pre-season with a dramatic last-second comeback victory over the Cardinals.
Head Coach Mike Zimmer is clearly bringing his team along, and the early measuring stick has been good despite the unfortunate situation of a player, Linval Joseph, getting shot in a nightclub after the first pre-season game.
Zimmer was able to get his team back focused on getting better. The Vikings have a long way to go in all areas, but they are improving. Last year’s 5-10-1 season led to much change, and much change was needed on and off the field.
When you change head coaches and quarterbacks, that’s as big a change as you can make. The Vikings have returned to their original roots of playing outside in the elements while their Purple Palace is being constructed on the old MetroDome site for the 2016 season.
Matt Cassell and rookie Teddy Bridgewater are battling for the starting quarterback job. Cassell has a slight edge according to some, but Bridgewater has been impressive. He is 16-20 for 177 yards with two touchdowns in the second half Saturday that helped save the day.
“I’m very pleased,” said Bridgewater. “I’m just going to continue to try and get better from here.” It is what many expected from Bridgewater — the poise, confidence, leadership command, and great accuracy with the football.
Zimmer has not yet set a time for making his big decision on who will be named the Vikings’ starting quarterback, but we do know it won’t be Christian Ponder. This week the Vikings hit the road with a preseason visit to Kansas City. Usually after the third game, head coaches have seen enough to decide on who will be named the starting quarterback.
Bridgewater may have been the most scrutinized quarterback in the draft, but the Vikings liked what they saw and drafted him in the first round. If Bridgewater wins the job, he would not be the first rookie to be named the starting quarterback.
It’s a new day, a fresh start for the Vikings, and Zimmer’s first season will require making tough decisions. And that starts with who will lead the team against St. Louis on Sunday, September 7.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.