Teddy Bridgewater (knee) cleared by doctor to practice

Teddy Bridgewater will soon hit the practice field.

More than a year after his gruesome knee injury, which led many around the NFL wondering whether the former first-round pick would ever play a down of football again, Bridgewater was cleared by Dr. Dan Cooper to begin practicing, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. Rapoport added Bridgewater is expected to be activated by the Vikings this week or next.

ESPN first reported the development.

Bridgewater, 24, has not taken an NFL snap since the end of the 2015 season.

Depending on when the Vikings let him back on the field, the team will have three weeks to decide whether or not they’ll place him on season-ending injured reserve. However, Rapoport reported Monday that the Vikings expect Bridgewater to play in 2017.

If that turns out to be true, it would not only be a remarkable stroke of luck for a team that saw its interim starter, Sam Bradford, suffer and reaggravate a knee injury, but it would also cap one of the most amazing comebacks in recent NFL history.

Bridgewater has toiled away from the spotlight for almost a year now, resurfacing occasionally via social media clips or Vikings practice videos from the spring. In some ways, he remains a wildcard for a first-place team desperately seeking for stability at the quarterback position. But, consider this paragraph from a story Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero wrote Sunday:

Sources close to Bridgewater say he is ready to go. He has had no setbacks, and nothing should hold him back during his physical. The team has made no decision regarding his status and won’t until after the physical. A decision could be this week; it could be next week. He has been throwing and doing football activities in rehab, but obviously practice is different. The Vikings do believe he’s working incredibly hard and has done everything he needs to do.

Before Bridgewater shattered his knee, he was approaching breakout status. The typically run-focused Vikings were watching the Louisville product peel off more of the game plan each week.

In 2015, Bridgewater increased his completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating from his rookie season, and threw three fewer interceptions. What might he be able to do with an improved set of receivers and an offensive coordinator in Pat Shurmur who has time and experience with the current roster? We might soon find out.

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