Mike Zimmer wants Teddy Bridgewater to resume his playing career in Minnesota

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Even though the Vikings declined quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's fifth-year option earlier this week, coach Mike Zimmer maintained on Friday he wants Bridgewater to resume his playing career in Minnesota when he's ready to be back on the field.

Zimmer also said he's more optimistic than ever about Bridgewater making a return from injuries to his left knee.

"I love Teddy Bridgewater," Zimmer said. "The guy is working his rear end off. He continues to fight every single day. Everything about him when he's rehabbing and doing the work he has to do is the exact same way he approaches life. I'm excited. I'm probably more optimistic now about him actually playing than I have been at any point in time. But he's still got a long ways to go."

Bridgewater, who tore his ACL and dislocated his left knee in the Vikings' final preseason practice last Aug. 30, is still in the throes of the rehabilitation process. The Vikings have declined to put any timetable on when the former first-round pick might be on the field again.

Bridgewater, 24, posted a video to his Instagram Story, which showed him working through an agility drill, the day after the Vikings declined his option for the 2018 season. He had previously posted a video of him doing some light throwing.

His fifth-year option would have been worth $12.2 million, and would have been guaranteed for injury had the Vikings picked it up. That led them to decline the option, but if Bridgewater were to spend the entire 2017 season on the physically unable to perform list, his contract would toll, meaning he could return to the Vikings in 2018 at a cap value of $2.179 million.