Vikings’ Bridgewater ditches knee brace in new Instagram photos

The brace is off.

Teddy Bridgewater posted photos to his private Instagram account Wednesday that show the Minnesota Vikings quarterback throwing without the bulky leg brace he’s worn since dislocating his left knee in practice almost a year ago.

The images have since disappeared from Bridgewater’s account.

Bridgewater suffered the gruesome injury just days before the Vikings’ season opener last year, tearing his ACL and dislocating his knee during a seemingly routine drill.

He began appearing in videos and photos practicing in a limited capacity earlier this year while wearing a large brace that encases most of his left leg.

The timetable for Bridgewater’s return remains unclear, although the 24-year-old is likely to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

The Vikings chose not to exercise Bridgewater’s fifth-year contract option this spring, and could allow him to hit free agency next year.

However, a complicated section of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement seems to provide the Vikings with an out should Bridgewater make significant progress over the next few months.

Players who remain on the PUP list for a full season can have their contracts tolled, adding a fifth year to Bridgewater’s contract by effectively negating the current one.

Per Article 20, Section 2 of the CBA, the Vikings can activate Bridgewater after the sixth game of the regular season and still toll the fourth year of his contract, seemingly allowing him to both play during the 2017 season and remain under contract through 2018.