Teddy might be back in the ballgame.
Entering Monday, the Vikings didn't look to have much of a chance to land Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, who has been regarded as the draft's No. 1 quarterback prospect.
But Bridgewater was unspectacular at Louisville's pro day. At least one draft analyst said that has increased the chances he could be available to Minnesota in May with the No. 8 pick.
“He certainly could be there at this stage of the game,” Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. said by phone. “He didn't help himself and now there's a bit more pressure on him selling himself to teams in private workouts.”
Minnesota's representation at Monday's pro day was headed by general manager Rick Spielman, coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The Vikings had met individually Sunday with Bridgewater.
ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski said on the air after Bridgewater's workout that he did not look good throwing the deep ball and “it certainly had a negative on his stock.” Others, though, were not as harsh.
“To be completely honest, if a team decides not to take Bridgewater because of an average pro day, then there's something else going on,” Dane Brugler, a senior analyst at NFLDraftScout.com andCBSSports.com, said by phone.
NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt, a longtime NFL scout, tweeted after the workout: “Not as down on Bridgewater workout as some. Only saw 1 bad throw. Norv Turner told me he thought it was pretty good.”
More important to the Vikings, if they really do like Bridgewater, would be if teams with higher picks have serious concerns about his workout. Teams that need a quarterback are Houston at No. 1, Jacksonville at No. 3, Cleveland at No. 4 and Oakland at No. 5.
If Bridgewater were to slip all the way to Minnesota, it almost certainly would mean other quarterbacks going ahead of him.
Those with that possibility are Central Florida's Blake Bortels, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and, to a lesser extent, Fresno State's Derek Carr.
Minnesota officials next will travel Wednesday to Central Florida's pro day to see Bortels. Fresno State's pro day is Thursday and the one for Manziel is March 27.
“We'll be out all over this month at these different quarterback workouts and spending a lot of time with these guys, not only what they're doing on the field but doing a lot of things behind the scenes with them in the room, going through their college tape, learning our system,” Spielman said. “And that'll be done with Coach Zimmer, myself and Norv and (quarterbacks coach) Scott Turner.”
By re-signing Matt Cassel, the Vikings at least won't have to reach for a quarterback if all the ones they really like at No. 8 are gone. That hampered the Vikings in 2011, when they drafted Christian Ponder at No. 12.
Having Cassel back allows the Vikings the luxury of being able to trade down for a quarterback or simply wait until they see one they like with a pick in a later round. Quarterbacks who are candidates for the second and third rounds include Alabama's A.J. McCarron, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garropolo and Georgia's Aaron Murray.
“When you start reaching for guys, that's when you get in trouble,” Weidl said. “Matt Cassel leaves a lot to be desired, but he's always functional.”
The Vikings want to find a quarterback who eventually can take over as the starter from Cassel, 31. But there won't be any guarantees in a draft in which there now are more concerns about one of the top prospects.
“When you look at Teddy Bridgewater on tape, you see a rock-solid NFL quarterback as you project his game to the NFL,” Jaworski said. “What I saw (Monday) ... was not a quarterback that I could project to be a rock-solid NFL quarterback.”
Brugler's mock draft has Bortels going No. 1, Bridgewater No. 4 and Manziel No. 8 to the Vikings.
Even if Brugler stressed the need not to overreact to Bridgewater's pro day, he didn't rule out he could fall to Minnesota.
“It always possible,” he said.