Updated: August 11th, 2014 9:25pm
Zulgad's 3-and-out: Vikings should be thrilled by Bridgewater's debut

Zulgad's 3-and-out: Vikings should be thrilled by Bridgewater's debut

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by Judd Zulgad

Teddy Bridgewater might have failed to light it up in his first appearance in Friday's preseason opener, but privately the Vikings should be thrilled by the performance from their rookie quarterback.

Bridgewater showed flashes of potential, but, for the most part, he looked like a guy who has a lot to learn and isn't close to being ready for a regular-season start.

Why should this be considered a positive? Because it puts the brakes on anyone who wants to see Bridgewater become the starter in 2014.

Anyone who is in a rush to see Bridgewater start as soon as possible is ignoring the Vikings' recent history. Remember the names Tarvaris Jackson and Christian Ponder? Both got starts as rookies and the rest is (a bad) history.

Someone who knows far more about football than I, informed me Friday that Bridgewater was the Vikings' best quarterback but that didn't mean this wouldn't be a process.

Bridgewater fell to the 32nd and final pick of the first round of the May draft for a reason and it wasn't solely based on a bad Pro Day. Thirty one teams passed on a guy who months before was projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick in the draft. That means there were issues with Bridgewater.

The Vikings think they can fix those issues but that's going to take time.

Anyone who didn't realize this found out Friday that Matt Cassel should be the starter in 2014. When should Bridgewater take over? Hopefully in 2015, but the real hope is that Bridgewater will be a playoff-ready quarterback in 2016, the first year in Zygi's football palace.

You say that's too long? I say I'd rather take my time and get it right rather than ending up with another young quarterback who leaves us lamenting the fact he never developed.

Wrong place, wrong time

Having covered the Vikings, I'm well aware of the security staff they employ and just how much they try to caution their players about what they do when they are away from the controlled environment of training camp or Winter Park.

But when it comes to the Linval Joseph">Linval Joseph situation, it's difficult to say that he or anyone affiliated with the Vikings did anything wrong.

The Vikings nose tackle suffered a leg wound during a shooting that occurred at 1:40 a.m. on Saturday at the 400 Soundbar in downtown Minneapolis. Thankfully, Joseph was treated and released from the hospital and has rejoined the Vikings, although he is not yet back on the field. He is expected to be ready to play in the Sept. 7 season-opener in St. Louis.

Yes, it was unfortunate that Joseph was in the club hours after the Vikings' game against the Raiders, but, according to the team, he was nothing more than an "innocent bystander."

You can question whether Joseph should have been in the establishment at all, but he's 25-years old and teams can't ban player from going out during their off time. If Joseph had gone to a place that he had been warned about by the Vikings, or was in what was considered to be a terrible part of town, that's one thing.

If he had been doing something illegal or gotten involved in an altercation, then we all would have serious questions about a guy who signed a five-year, $31.5 million free-agent deal in March.

But, as far as we know, Joseph was doing nothing more than enjoying himself after a game in downtown Minneapolis and someone started shooting in a crowded club in what was termed a gang-related crime.

Thus, the only fair takeaway at this point is that Joseph is an extremely fortunate man who did nothing wrong.

May Day


There is no professional athlete on this planet who wants you to feel sorry for him, but as I watched the Twins' Trevor May walk seven over two innings on Saturday in his big-league debut that's what I felt.

It was akin to watching a comedian take the stage and fall flat on his face.

May had no idea how to find the strike zone - his changeup missed high, his fastball missed low - and thus a pitcher we all wanted to see was lifted after throwing only 28 strikes among 63 pitches in a 9-4 loss at Oakland.

And despite all of this, the Twins did the right thing by recalling May and they will be doing the right thing by starting him the rest of the season in the big-league rotation.

Giving starts to guys who have no business being in the Twins' long-term plans makes zero sense. This is a franchise that needs to find out exactly what it has in terms of prospects.

May is 24 years old. No one rushed him to the big leagues. No matter how ugly it might get, and hopefully for May it will only get better after Saturday, the Twins need to keep running him out to the mound and hope that what we saw over the weekend was nothing more than a terrible case of nerves. 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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