Bridgewater’s debut bout with Green Bay. Storylines that you HAVE to follow: http://t.co/Tcc7OC3VVJ pic.twitter.com/tVgdSZhWMZAccording to ESPN's QBR, Bridgewater's ranking for the season is a bad 40.9 but (not surprising from a rookie) he's been very inconsistent. He was very good in three games this season (Falcons, Buccaneers, and Team From Washington) and very bad in three others (Lions, Bills, Bears) with his game against the Saints in the middle. It's probably no coincidence that his three good games came against three of the four worst pass defenses according to Football Outsiders, though he stank last week against the Bears's 28th ranked unit.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 19, 2014
The big problem for Bridgewater is that he's been struggling in the deep passing games. He missed a couple of potential big plays against the Team From Washington. It doesn't help him that the Vikings had to go with a conservative attack against the Bears last week because they can't pass block. It wasn't until former Packer draft choice WR Charles Johnson got active in the second half did Bridgewater get his wide receivers involved in the game plan at all. A short passing attack, which might be necessary if Clay Matthews is constantly running unblocked around the left tackle, isn't going to get it done against the Packers. Ponder averaged only 5.0 yards per attempt in their last meeting and it led to blowout.
The Vikings do have an effective running attack (Matt Asiata averaged 4.8 yards per attempt in their last meeting, with one fumble) but injuries to Asiata and Jerick McKinnon have forced them to claim Ben Tate from waivers as they search for a healthy body at running back. And Tate's been awful, averaging 2.2 yards per carry over the past few weeks for the Browns. I don't expect Dom Capers will show any sign of respect to their running game unless the Vikings can prove it's deserved. So there should be even more pressure on Bridgewater to move the ball through the air while the Packers are lining up an extra back or two in coverage.
Bridgewater might be fortunate to lead the Vikings on a meaningful scoring drive or two before the fourth quarter rolls around and it's Matt Flynn time. Even if that happens, Bridgewater hasn't shown the ability to lead the Vikings in a shoot out against a non-awful defense at any time this season.