Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is exactly where he wanted to be, with the Minnesota Vikings.
BEREA, Ohio -- Following the 2014 NFL Draft, reports began to surface that former University of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went on the record saying that he did not want to be a Cleveland Brown.
During a youth football camp as part of the NFL Rookie Symposium, Bridgewater explained that his comment was more of a confirmation that the first-round pick wanted to land in Minnesota more than anywhere else.
"I said it on the air, but I was just saying I really had a solid feeling about the Minnesota Vikings, and that was it," Bridgewater said. "It's in the past. I don't know what (the Browns') plan was. All I know is that I ended up in Minnesota and I'm happy to be there right now.
"I think it was misinterpreted. What I was saying was, I had a strong feeling about the Minnesota Vikings. I was able to meet with them five or six times in all of the pre-draft visits, and I just had a pretty solid feeling about the Minnesota Vikings. I try to put all the pre-draft stuff behind me and try to focus on my career with the Minnesota Vikings."
Bridgewater wanted to be in Minnesota more than anywhere else because of the atmosphere he observed in multiple pre-draft interactions with the Vikings' front office and coaching staff.
"It was just a family environment," Bridgewater said. "I was able to meet with the Vikings five or six times, and each time I met with them, it just hit home. Ever since I arrived in Minnesota, everything has just exceeded expectations.
"From (the owners) the Wilfs down to (general manager) Rick Spielman, down to Coach (Mike) Zimmer and to Coach (Norv) Turner, it's all just a family environment. It trickles down to the locker room, and I'm just glad to be there."
In Minnesota, Bridgewater will get the opportunity to play for former Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who holds the same position with the Vikings. As an NFL coach, both assistant and head, Turner has led multiple quarterbacks to Pro Bowl seasons, and one, Troy Aikman, to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the early 1990s.
Like Aikman did with Emmitt Smith, Bridgewater will work in concert with a multi-time Pro Bowler, and 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player, in running back Adrian Peterson.
"You just have to be a great passer, and I feel that I have some of those qualities to be a great passer, whether it's my accuracy, my decision-making or just protecting the football, I know that I still have a long way to go though," Bridgewater said. "I've only been there for six weeks, and in those six weeks, I've been able to learn so much, and I just can't wait to get to training camp when we put the pads on and we actually get to play some football.
"I just have to continue to work and get better every day and try and perfect my craft. I know it's going to take time, but at the same time, there is a sense of urgency. I'm just going to continue to motivate myself and continue to learn from those guys. Adrian, he's the best running back in the National Football League, so I've been able to sit back and watch him from a mental approach. I'm very interested in learning how he sets his goals, what motivates him and how he approaches each day."
And as for those, including Browns coach Mike Pettine, who believe Johnny Manziel will be the only rookie quarterback that is ready to play this season, Bridgewater wants his chance to prove them wrong.
"Being a competitor, I would love to just play, and continue to do the one thing I love, which is compete," Bridgewater said. "Our coaches are going to make the best decisions for the team, and me being a team player, I'm all about the team.
"I have nothing but the best interests for the team. I'm just going to continue to compete and allow myself, when the coaches do make that decision, to be in consideration."