The Minnesota Vikings got a glimpse into the possible future as rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater passed for 317 yards and rushed 27 yards (including a 13 yard touchdown run) as the Vikings defeated the Atlanta Falcons 41-28. The win improves Minnesota’s record to 2-2 on the season and puts the team one game behind the Detroit Lions (3-1) for first place in the NFC North.
Bridgewater’s 317 yards passing is the most ever by a quarterback making their very first start as a member of the Vikings. He still has not thrown for a touchdown in just under 2 games played this season, but he also has not thrown any interceptions (that’s 4 less than Matt Cassel threw in Week 2).
Seven different Minnesota receivers caught passes from Bridgewater and no Vikings player had more catches than wide receiver Jarius Wright. Wright set career highs in catches (8) and yards (132) as Atlanta could not find a way to stop him. Wright is one of the many Minnesota players that is happy to see Bridgewater under center.
Bridgewater was not the only rookie that played a key role in the Vikings first home victory of the season. Rookie running back Jerick McKinnon rushed for a career high 135 yards on 18 carries. McKinnon’s 55 yard run in the 2nd quarter was the longest by a Minnesota rookie running back since 2007.
With McKinnon and fellow Vikings running back Matt Asiata running the ball and Bridgewater passing the ball, Minnesota’s offense was able to rack up a season high in points (41) and total yards (558). Asiata found the end zone 3 times and finished the game with 78 yards on 20 carries. The Vikings 241 total rushing yards against the Falcons was 128 more than the combined total yards Minnesota had rushed for in their past two games.
The Vikings defense continued its drastic improvement from a season ago as they forced Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to throw 2 interceptions. including one by Minnesota safety Harrison Smith. The interception by Smith pretty much sealed the win for the Vikings as it came in the final minutes of the 4th quarter.
For a team that seemed to have lost its identity at the beginning of the season due to unfortunate circumstances, Minnesota may have found a new face of the franchise in the form of Bridgewater. But Vikings fans need not to worry about Teddy struggling in the spotlight as he has been known to be Great Under Major Pressure (G.U.M.P.).