Breaking news for the Minnesota Vikings starting QB Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and a torn ACL when he went down during a non-contact drill at practice , ending his 2016 season.
“Teddy suffered a complete tear to his ACL and other structural damage,” the team said in a statement Tuesday evening after Bridgewater underwent an MRI. “Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage.”
Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a drill, planted his foot and immediately went down. Trainers rushed to his side and began inflating an air cast, and the quarterback appeared to be holding his left leg.
Several players threw their helmets and shouted expletives as they scattered, and many simultaneously dropped to one knee in prayer. Moments later, a siren-blaring ambulance pulled into the team’s Winter Park headquarters, stayed for about 10 minutes and then pulled away.
The team called off Tuesday’s practice its last of the preseason after Bridgewater was injured.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he briefly spoke with Bridgewater after the injury and said he told the 23-year-old, “Hang in there. We’re with him. Hope for the best.”
Bridgewater was still on the practice field grass as the team’s public relations staff ushered reporters from the premises.
“Today is a disappointing day the No. 1 thing is Teddy is such a great kid,” Zimmer said. “Everyone loves him.”
Players were visibly distraught as they exited the field, and Zimmer said he spoke with the team prior to addressing the media.
“We’re going to grieve today and be upset about it,” Zimmer told reporters. “It’s more about our feelings for Teddy and for him as a person and getting better than it is about anything else. Teddy’s a great kid, and he’ll be back as soon as he possibly can if it is real bad. But we’re going to keep fighting.”
Players from all over the NFL took to Twitter to show their support for Bridgewater.
There is little behind Bridgewater on the depth chart. Shaun Hill is the primary backup, but he’s 36 years old and has played only sparingly over the past five years.
“I have confidence in Shaun. I think he’s played great this preseason,” Zimmer said. “The thing we all have to remember is this is about the team. We have a good team.”
Bridgewater is entering his third season in the NFL, and the Vikings were counting on him to take major steps forward after a promising start to his career. He helped lead the Vikings to the NFC North championship last season as more of a game manager, but Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norm Turner have said they expect him to be much more of a playmaker in 2016.
The Vikings said Bridgewater is expected to make a full recovery.