Bridgewater practices, but Keenum is Vikes' starter
(TSX / STATS) -- EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater practiced for the first time since his horrific left knee injury 13 1/2 months ago. Sam Bradford was absent again as he continues to rehab his injured left knee. And, oh yeah, Case Keenum's knees were fine as he prepared to start a fifth game for a Vikings team that's 4-2, sitting atop the NFC North and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker with Green Bay.
That, in one paragraph, was the Vikings' quarterback situation on Wednesday. Assuming everything stays the same, Keenum will start against the Ravens (3-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. He'll be backed up by undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter once again.
It wasn't until the end of head coach Mike Zimmer's Wednesday press conference that he was asked about Keenum. And that question was about how Keenum is handling all the attention being giving to Bridgewater and Bradford.
"Good," Zimmer said. "Case is Case. He just does what he has to do to get ready. You'd probably have to ask him more than me.
"I get it, the fans and the media and everybody is so excited about Teddy being back. He's still got a ways to go. So, we need to just remember that. That he's still working, a work in progress. If and when the time comes, we'll get him in there and we'll go. For right now, it's business as usual."
Zimmer preferred to talk about the Ravens, a franchise he knows well from having served as Bengals defensive coordinator before getting the Vikings job in 2014. Zimmer talked about their physicality. How they rank second in takeaways (14). How they have nine interceptions. How Joe Flacco throws the deep ball and how linebacker Terrell Suggs is an ageless wonder.
Zimmer didn't care much for talking about Bridgewater, who remains on the physically unable to perform list. The Vikings have 21 days to decide whether to activate him or keep him on PUP, which would bring the possibility of being able to toll the last year of his contract to 2018.
"He's probably not going to play this week," Zimmer said with a smile, knowing for certain that Bridgewater will not play this week. "So we need to put the brakes on things a little bit."
Keenum took nearly all of the first-team reps in practice Wednesday. The 29-year-old journeyman is completing a career-high 64.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and only one interception in 4 1/2 games this season. He had a career-high passer rating of 142.1 against the Buccaneers in Week 3.
Meanwhile, the Vikings had five players miss Wednesday's practice, including four starters - Bradford, receiver Stefon Diggs (groin), left guard Nick Easton (calf) and linebacker Anthony Barr (concussion/ankle). Receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring) also sat out Wednesday.
Bridgewater got some limited first-team reps in his first football action since suffering the injury a week before the 2016 season.
"We have to give him some plays," Zimmer said. "He's been in a very controlled environment for the last 14 months. So, eventually, we have to work him into some uncontrolled environments."
--Zimmer almost was baited into returning fire at Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, who said Monday he thought Anthony Barr's hit on Aaron Rodgers wasn't necessary or legal.
The hit has been scrutinized heavily back and forth between the two teams' fans. There was no flag on the play, which saw Barr take Rodgers to the ground after the ball was released.
Only Barr knows if he could have done anything differently. But he hasn't talked about the play. He remains in the NFL's concussion protocol and is not allowed to talk to reporters, per NFL rules.
Barr was injured on a later play.
Wednesday, Zimmer was asked to respond to McCarthy's accusation.
"I've moved on to Baltimore," Zimmer said. "I don't want to talk about that. I've got all kinds of plays to show a lot of people. But I'm not even going to talk about it."
Looking at the roster:
--Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (groin) did not practice Wednesday. He missed last week's Packers game and is day-to-day. If he doesn't play, the Vikings could start and give more reps to Laquon Treadwell.
--Wide receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. He saw extra reps last week because Stefon Diggs was inactive.
--Left guard Nick Easton (calf) did not practice Wednesday. He missed the Packers game and remains day-to-day. If he is not ready, Jeremiah Sirles will get his second straight start. Sirles performed well against the Packers.
--Linebacker Anthony Barr (concussion/ankle) missed Wednesday's practice and is still in the NFL's concussion protocol.
SERIES HISTORY: 6th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead series, 3-2. Vikings are 1-0 at home, beating the Ravens 33-31 with Brett Favre at quarterback in 2009. Their last meeting was 2013 at Baltimore. The Ravens led 7-6 after three quarters. The teams scored 42 fourth-quarter points, including five touchdowns in the final 2:05. The lead changed hands five times in the final 2:05 as the Ravens won 29-26.
Updated October 18, 2017