The driest part of the NFL summer is here. The limbo between the end of mini-camp and the start of training camp has players and fans struggling to be proactive.
But Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has found a method to improve during this football purgatory -- by learning Minnesota's offense through EA Sports' Madden NFL video game.
Bridgewater told ESPN he uploaded the Vikings' playbook to his Madden NFL game to practice and improve his execution of Norv Turner's offensive system.
The video game allows Bridgewater to simulate offensive plays against defenses similar to those he will be facing on the field.
"It helps because you get one more rep than you had in practice, actual practice," Bridgewater said. "Any chance you get to take an extra rep or go the extra step, extra mile, it's going to be very beneficial transferring it to the field."
Bridgewater used the same tactic during his Louisville days when he used an NCAA football video game to practice the Cardinals' playbook.
Madden's customizable playbook and increasingly realistic play makes it a viable tool for NFL players to prepare for game day. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees credited Madden NFL on life-like practice without the hits.
Elite quarterbacks like Brees know the importance of going the extra mile to master the playbook to translate that football IQ to the field.
Bridgewater’s commitment to learning the Vikings’ playbook is invaluable in a young quarterback who is expected to lift a struggling franchise.
"I try to take as many reps as I can, whether it's on a video game, playing EA Madden Football or in the playbook, just drawing it or just visualizing it in my head," Bridgewater said. "I try to just maximize every rep I can get and every opportunity that I can take."