<
>

Teddy Bridgewater says he needs to be more aggressive in 2016

Teddy Bridgewater passed for 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns in his second season. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- If the Minnesota Vikings are going to capitalize on lofty expectations in 2016, they'll likely need a sizable step forward from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in his third season. The numbers would suggest Bridgewater made strides in his second year, though his development certainly didn't transform the Vikings' passing game into a formidable part of the offense in 2015. For that to happen next season, Bridgewater said, he knows where he needs to improve.

"Just being more aggressive," he said. "I’m going to spend some time watching the tape, watching all of the pass plays, all the running plays, just critique them myself. Some little things that I can do better."

Coach Mike Zimmer has called on Bridgewater to be more assertive, both in his willingness to make tough throws on the field and speak his mind about what he wants in the game plan, and Bridgewater said as much on Monday. He had already gone through the Vikings' 10-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC wild-card game in order to see where he could have been better. The QB also said he plans to get together with his receivers for offseason workouts again, like he did in Southern California last spring.

"[It's] having that same intensity, that focus," Bridgewater said. "Being a great leader, great communicator around this locker room, with the coaching staff, and just coming back a better player."

Bridgewater finished the 2015 regular season with 3,231 passing yards while completing 65.3 percent of his passes, but he completed only six passes of more than five yards downfield in Sunday's loss. Things will get easier for Bridgewater if the Vikings can protect him more consistently, but he'll also need to connect on tougher throws in order for Minnesota to lift its passing offense from 31st in the league.

"I think what was asked of my position -- I think we did a good job of doing what was asked of it, and now it’s just time to take that extra step," Bridgewater said. "We’re going to get together this offseason, [with the] coaching staff. I have to do a good job of communicating with those guys. We’re all going to be on the same page, and when we come back in the spring it’s going to be full speed."