Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a serious leg injury during Vikings practice on Tuesday. The diagnosis later confirmed that Bridgewater tore his ACL and dislocated his knee. His 2016 season is over before it began. This shakes up the NFC North big-time.
Teddy Bridgewater’s Injury Impacts the NFC North
Bridgewater was drafted by the Vikings with the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He had such an impressive season that he won the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award. Unfortunately, the team finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
In 2015, Bridgewater led the Vikings to an NFC North title after defeating the Green Bay Packers in their Week 17 matchup. The season came to a sad end when kicker Blair Walsh missed a 26-yard field goal in their Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Vikings had big expectations coming into 2016. With this injury, their expectations seem to have faltered big time. This injury changes not just the team’s season, but the state of the NFC North all together.
There is now only one team that can really win the NFC North. That team is the Packers. They have a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, a star wide receiver in Jordy Nelson, a great running back in Eddie Lacy and a dominant defense. Rodgers has led the team to the playoffs every season since he took over in 2008. He even led them to a Super Bowl XLV back in 2011. Jordy Nelson is coming off a torn ACL and is ready to go. Lacy dropped all the weight he had last season, so his speed will pick up in 2016.
None of the other three teams can really compete with Green Bay in the division.
The Vikings may be without their star quarterback, but they still do have one of the best running backs in NFL history in Adrian Peterson. They will look to him to lead the Vikings’ ship. He can’t do it all by himself, however. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have much help. The Vikings are done.
As for the Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford is possibly the best quarterback they’ve ever had. He’s thrown for over 4,000 yards in five consecutive seasons. A lot of those yards went to now retired wide receiver Calvin Johnson, aka Megatron. Now that Megatron has retired, Stafford doesn’t have that one receiver he can look to all the time. Not only that, but he has never had a decent running game to back him up.
Then there’s the Chicago Bears. As long as the Bears have Jay Cutler as their quarterback, they will finish at the bottom of the barrel. It is about time that head coach John Fox realizes that Cutler is not the same quarterback that he was with the Denver Broncos and move on from him. The 2016 NFL season is only nine days away, but the Bears already have that last place spot in the NFC North reserved.
The Vikings could have competed with the Packers in the NFC North had Bridgewater stayed healthy. If they are lucky and Peterson leads this team to multiple wins this season, they can still see themselves in second place in the division come Jan. 3, 2017.