MINNEAPOLIS — As the Vikings enter their bye week atop the NFC North standings, coach Mike Zimmer said he is "prepared" to activate quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from the physically unable to perform list, the first step in ushering back their 2014 first-round draft pick after a 14-month absence.
Even with a 6-2 record and six surprisingly effective starts from Case Keenum, the Vikings could welcome Bridgewater to their starting lineup as soon as their next game, Nov. 12 against the Redskins in Washington, D.C.
"We'll take it one day at a time, though, and see," Zimmer said. "We've still got a few more days to figure it out."
Indeed, the Vikings have until Wednesday, Nov. 8, to decide whether to activate Bridgewater or leave him on the PUP list for the remainder of the season. But it seems like a foregone conclusion that Bridgewater will be activated and placed on the 53-man roster before that deadline.
The 24-year-old quarterback has been practicing since Oct. 18, his rehab from a dislocated left knee now complete.
For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, Bridgewater seems likely to get a shot under center given Sam Bradford has missed six of the team's past seven games because of his own knee injuries and Keenum, despite his success this season, still has a career record of 13-17.
"We'll continue to take it one day at a time," Zimmer said of Bridgewater's status. "Just see where he is at, where the team is at, how Case is doing and ... how (Sam) is doing."
Vikings players left Winter Park on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and don't have to report back until Monday, the perk of their bye week.
By then, Bridgewater could be sharing snaps with Keenum.
"I think it's great," Keenum said of the Vikings potentially activating Bridgewater. "He can sling it. I've watched him on film a long time, but watching him in person is a whole other story. I've really enjoyed watching him sling the ball around. I think it'll be great."
Of the Vikings' trio of quarterbacks, the one who seems farthest from playing is Bradford, the season-opening starter. He hasn't practiced in more than three weeks after aggravating a left knee injury when he returned to action in Week 5 at Chicago.
"He's getting better," Zimmer said. "I thought this was going to be a one-week injury. I never thought that it would linger on this long. But he is getting better. We'll just go from there. When I told you guys that I thought he was close, I thought he was. It just hasn't worked that way."
Instead, the Vikings enter their bye week with a still-convoluted quarterback situation even if their record makes for less stress.
A year ago, the Vikings entered the bye week with a 5-0 record before finishing the season 8-8.
So Zimmer has changes in store for this bye week, even if he didn't reveal them Tuesday.
"There's some things that we're working on," Zimmer said. "That's what we're trying to do this week, work on these things. I'm not going to get specific on it, but I gave the team and the coaches some things I want them to really concentrate on this week."
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