Saturday, August 5, 2017

Did I sense a rumbling of discontent from Teddy Bridgewater?

All may not be entirely well as regards the Vikings' relationship with Teddy Bridgewater. Under the seemingly placid surface of things there may be rumblings of discontent. I am certainly not the first to put two-and-two together when it comes to Bridgewater's intriguing tweets of a couple nights ago after news broke that Miami QB Ryan Tannehill had suffered an injury and was potentially looking at missing a lot of time. Given Bridgewater's Florida connections, and connections via Louisville to Miami receiver DeVante Parker, it took four seconds for folks to begin speculating on a possible trade of Bridgewater to the Dolphins. Then things seemingly went a step beyond mere idle trade speculation thanks to a few Bridgewater tweets. KFAN first jumped on the story in a post with the totally non-hysterial title "The Internet is bracing itself for a Bridgewater to Miami Trade..." laying out the timeline of events:

 - Tannehill gets injured late in the morning on Thursday
 - Late last night former Vikings cornerback and Miami native Demarcus VanDyke put out a tweet calling for Teddy to be traded to the Dolphins...and Teddy "liked" the tweet on Twitter. The tweet has since been "unliked" but there are screenshots to prove it.
 - Within the same hour Bridgewater puts out a barrage of tweets highlighted in the image below. 

Jackals in the Twin Cities media began frothing at the mouth over the possibility of an honest-to-goodness Teddy Bridgewater controversy in Minnesota. Radio people turned it into an instant talker.

Even Mike Florio of PFT got in on the act, drawing the amusing ire of his pal Paul Allen.
First off, there is no way in hell the Miami Dolphins are going to trade anything to the Vikings to acquire Teddy Bridgewater knowing that Bridgewater is likely not yet ready to play. The Dolphins, if they even think they need a quarterback, will want someone who can step in right away. They will not want someone who is coming off his own catastrophic knee injury. So even if Bridgewater is pining to get out of Minnesota and play with Parker in Miami, it's not going to happen any time in the near future.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get down to what the real story is here. Even if a trade is not realistically possible, the fact is Teddy Bridgewater did like that tweet about getting traded, did unlike the tweet somewhat suspiciously and did follow it up with a three-tweet run about sensing God about to perform a miracle in his life. Hard as I may try to ignore the implications of this Twitter activity, chalking it all up to coincidence, I can't quite bring myself to do so. There may not be smoke there, but there's definitely a burning smell. It is not unreasonable at all to surmise based on Bridgewater's tweets that Bridgewater is not happy with the way the Vikings are handling his situation. Publicly Bridgewater is saying all the right things, because that's the kind of classy guy he is, but who knows what his true feelings are. It could very well be that Bridgewater believes he's ready to play now and is cheesed off that Minnesota has him sitting on PUP while Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke get all the reps.

The thing is, looking at it in purely strategic terms, the right play for Rick Spielman is to do exactly what he's doing. Having Bradford around means he doesn't have to risk putting Bridgewater out there a second too early. He can hold Bridgewater back as an insurance policy in case Bradford gets hurt. He can also try to stash Bridgewater on PUP during the season, forcing Bridgewater's contract to toll, essentially adding an extra year to the QB's deal (after the team wisely elected not to pick up his fifth-year option). Some have argued the union would rush to Bridgewater's defense in the event Minnesota tried any such shenanigans with him and his contract, and maybe they would, but one assumes if that were a real possibility Rick Spielman would already be well-aware of it. We'll find out what happens when the season starts. For now, Bridgewater is sitting, and there is genuine evidence that he's not entirely happy with having to sit.

This would be much less of a story - or potential story, if you so far refuse to believe it rises to the level of an actual story - if Bridgewater did not have such a reputation for being a nice guy. It truly is hard to imagine a more amiable, likable, non-controversial figure than Teddy Bridgewater. And let's be honest - from the point-of-view of the media, Bridgewater's niceness makes him just a little bit bland. If the media had their way, they'd rather cover an ass like Jay Cutler. The media love QB-related headlines. Even before Bridgewater's minor tweet outburst, some were trying to foment a QB controversy in Minnesota by pointing out how healthy Bridgewater always looks in the team's video releases of him. Controversy sells, so it's no shock media people in the Twin Cities and elsewhere are now trying to make one around Bridgewater, who otherwise seems totally controversy-proof. The hell of it is, Bridgewater is the one responsible for fanning this particular smoldering pile of charcoal. If he was trying to send a message to the Vikings with his tweets, mission accomplished. Personally I think it's a positive sign that Bridgewater possesses a little ass potential underneath his nice-guy exterior. I don't trust anyone who seems totally nice.

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