EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings ended practice after just 25 minutes Tuesday, and Teddy Bridgewater suffered a significant injury that will change the entire complexion of a season filled with high expectations.
Vikings officials confirmed Tuesday that Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee, and a MRI showed a complete ACL tear as well as other structural damage. Team officials said there was no nerve or arterial damage. Bridgewater will have surgery in the next few days, and is expected to make a full recovery. Though that recovery time will be significant.
Bridgewater will miss the 2016 season.
Bridgewater suffered a non-contact injury while dropping back to pass during a team drill and was seen on the ground and not moving. According to several reports, Bridgewater was seen grabbing his left knee. Players immediately gathered around Bridgewater and the training staff and began praying. An ambulance was seen pulling into Winter Park to take Bridgewater to the hospital.
Players were visibly distraught as they exited the field, some hurling expletives into the air. A small group remained behind, huddled around him in prayer as team athletic trainers worked to immobilize his leg.
If Bridgewater is unable to return in a timely manner, there is little behind him on the depth chart. Shaun Hill is the primary backup, but he's 36 years old and has played only sparingly over the last five years.
Bridgewater is entering his third season in the NFL and the Vikings were counting on him to take some major steps forward after a promising start to his career. He helped lead the Vikings to the NFC North championship last season as more of a game manager, but Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have said that they expected him to be much more of a playmaker in 2016.
"Teddy's such a great kid," Zimmer said. "I love this kid. Our fans love this kid."
Bridgewater missed the second preseason game with a sore shoulder, but was very sharp on Sunday against San Diego. He went 12 for 16 for 161 yards and a touchdown in two quarters of work, leaving Vikings players and fans fully confident as the team starts to prepare for the season opener at Tennessee on Sept. 11.
"Today is a disappointing day but we're going to fight like we always do. My wife died seven years ago and the sun came up the next day. The sun will come up tomorrow and we'll go back to work. Nobody is going to cry for us. Tennessee isn't going to feel bad for us," Zimmer said.
The Vikings host the Los Angeles Rams in their final preseason game Thursday night, though Bridgewater and most of the starters were not expected to play.
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