<
>

Teddy Bridgewater bulks up before second season

The Vikings wanted Teddy Bridgewater to gain more weight so he could better withstand the pounding of a full NFL season. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

MANKATO, Minn. -- After Teddy Bridgewater spent much of his first NFL season throwing under some measure of duress, the Minnesota Vikings certainly didn't mind the idea of Bridgewater bulking up before his second year.

The Vikings set a weight limit for Bridgewater of 215 pounds to help the 6-foot-3 quarterback absorb the punishment of a NFL season without sacrificing too much of his mobility. Bridgewater, who was listed at 210 pounds last year, appears to have filled out a little bit before Year 2.

"Most of it was muscle," Bridgewater said. "I'm trying to make sure I'm building myself up to withstand some hits I'm going to take throughout the year, and withstand the long season that's ahead of us."

Bridgewater didn't think the added strength had a major effect on his ability to drive the ball. "It allows me to have more zip on the ball, but sometimes that's from technique," he said. "If I drop my elbow too low, the ball may sail on me. There are a ton of things that play a role."

In addition to taking 39 sacks last year, Bridgewater was hit as he threw another 14 times, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That total doesn't include any hits he incurred after releasing the ball. Effectively, he was hit by a defender on more than 11 percent of his 469 dropbacks last year, and Bridgewater also ran the ball another 47 times. The Vikings hope to protect Bridgewater more effectively than they did last season, when he was pressured on 29.9 percent of his dropbacks, but it doesn't hurt Bridgewater to prepare for the pounding.

"It's not the deal where we're going to bulk him up, like he's doing max sets and things like that," coach Mike Zimmer said. "It's about the repetitions [in weight training]. Teddy's a kid that, whatever you ask him to do, he's going to do."