Teddy Bridgewater Is Getting Weird in Detroit

Dec 10, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Minnesota Vikings signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater returned to the NFC North last week, latching onto the Detroit Lions on a one-year deal worth up to $5 million.

He’ll vie for the QB2 job behind Jared Goff and will likely secure the gig ahead of Nate Sudfeld, Hendon Hooker, and Adrian Martinez.

Teddy Bridgewater Is Getting Weird in Detroit

But operations became a little weird this week when the 30-year-old discussed jersey numbers. Bridgewater told reporters he’ll wear No. 50 in the preseason, a number not typically associated with quarterbacks.

Getting Weird
Dec 20, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

“I’m gonna wear number 50. I’m wearing 50, man,” Bridgewater said on Monday.

Numbers 0-19 are spoken for on the Lions current 90-man roster, so there’s a reasonable chance Bridgewater switches to a traditional QB number after roster trimdowns on August 29th.

The Vikings Use a Lot
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) embraces Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) after a game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

The Miami Dolphins were Bridgewater’s previous employer, as the ex-Viking supported Tua Tagovailoa as QB2 in 2022. This is Bridgewater’s career resume:

  • Minnesota Vikings (2014–2017)
  • New York Jets (2018)
  • New Orleans Saints (2018–2019)
  • Carolina Panthers (2020)
  • Denver Broncos (2021)
  • Miami Dolphins (2022)
  • Detroit Lions (2023-present)

Minnesota selected Bridgewater in Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft as the team’s quarterback of the future. He took over during his rookie season and immediately looked quite wonderful. One season later, combined with Mike Zimmer’s blooming defense, Minnesota won the NFC North in 2015, and business was heating up.

Dec 3, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) watches the action from the sideline in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports.

But the summer of 2016 was a different story. Bridgewater encountered a ghastly knee injury right before the start of the regular season, and then-GM Rick Spielman traded a 1st-Round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford. Bridgewater’s career was forever changed.

Since leaving the Vikings after the injury in 2016-2017, teams led by Bridgewater are 16-21 (.432). Scaled to a 17-game season, Bridgewater has averaged 20 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions per year. In the past, those numbers would’ve been appealing — like 20 years ago — but teams have learned that Bridgewater is best suited for QB2. Hence the current Lions assignment.

Teddy Bridgewater / D.J. Wonnum
Nov 29, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is hit by Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum (98) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Newcomer running back David Montgomery wears Bridgewater’s customary No. 5 and won’t be released later this month. So, for now, Bridgewater is stuck with a linebacker’s number and will have to reevaluate in a couple of weeks.

Bridgewater will turn 31 in November.

The Lions play the Vikings on Christmas Eve and then two weeks later to end the 2023 regular season.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.