Teddy Bridgewater suffered what appears to be a serious knee injury.
The Vikings' preseason came to a screeching halt when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a non-contact leg injury during Tuesday's practice. The former Louisville standout was quickly surrounded by praying teammates before being taken to a local hospital via ambulance. First and foremost, we hope Bridgewater recovers from what looks like a scary situation sooner than later. At the same time, this is just the latest injury suffered by a star player on a potential Super Bowl contender before the games even count. Here are seven injuries that have shaped the title picture over the past 20 years in the NFL.
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2011: QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (neck)
Technically, Manning's neck injury was the result of a career's worth of punishment. On the other hand, the Colts QB played in all 16 games in 2010; it wasn't until May 23, 2011, smack in the middle of the offseason, that he required surgery on his neck which cost him the entire year. The Colts were in the midst of a nine-year run of consecutive seasons with double-digit wins and had made a Super Bowl appearance in 2009. With Manning on the shelf, Indianapolis lost 14 games — more than in the previous three seasons combined.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
2003: QB Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons (fractured fibula)
Despite coming up short in the divisional round against the Eagles, the Falcons still boasted a top-10 scoring offense and defense in 2002 and looked primed to build on their success in 2003. Instead, Vick broke his right fibula in a preseason game against the Ravens, an injury which forced him to miss the first 11 games of the season.
AFP/Getty ImagesJEFF HANISCH
2014: OLB Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys (torn ACL)
It might seem strange to refer to a team that missed the postseason the previous year as a Super Bowl contender, but oddsmakers loved Dallas in 2014, installing Tony Romo's team as the fifth-best preseason favorite. And with good reason; the Cowboys finished 12-4 that season despite missing their most important player on defense. One can argue that a 12-win season is far from ruined, but a healthy Lee very well could have been the difference in Dallas' 26-21 playoff loss to the Packers.
The fifth overall pick in 2000 lived up to the hype as a rookie for the Ravens, rushing for 1,364 yards and 6 TDs while taking over for Priest Holmes as the starting RB. Baltimore rode Lewis to a Super Bowl in 2000 and hoped to do the same in 2001. Unfortunately, Lewis suffered a torn ACL and sprained MCL after taking a blow to the knee from teammate Kelly Gregg in a preseason practice. Lewis missed the entire 2001 season, but he rebounded nicely in 2003, rushing for 2,066 yards.
Getty ImagesScott Halleran
2008: DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants (left knee injury)
The Giants shocked the world by defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, thanks largely to a suffocating pass rush led by Umenyiora. In fact, as we've learned time and again since then, a dominant defensive front seven is one of the surest signs of a title contender in the NFL. When Umenyiora suffered a season-ending left knee injury in a preseason game against the Jets, however, any chance of New York repeating went out the window.
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2015: WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (torn ACL)
Like Bridgewater, Nelson suffered a non-contact leg injury in the Packers' second preseason game against the Steelers last year. It was the start of a chain of unfortunate injuries suffered by Green Bay's offense, but none hurt more than Nelson's torn ACL. He missed the entire season, and the Packers fell from first and sixth in points scored and total yards from scrimmage, respectively, in 2014 to 15th and 23rd in 2015. Anyone who wagered on the Packers and their second-best odds to win last year's Super Bowl had to swallow their losses.
Getty ImagesTom Lynn
2016: QB Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Scoff at Minnesota's 2016 Super Bowl potential if you want, but this was going to be the Vikings' year. In fact, Pro Football Focus had Bridgewater as the second-best QB in the NFL after the third week of the preseason and the Vikings as the top-graded team. All Minnesota needed was for Bridgewater to take care of the ball, serve as a running threat, and continue to be an extraordinarily efficient passer. Now, if Bridgewater misses significant time, all of that falls to the wayside.