- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Sure, this is only the preseason.

Still, Teddy Bridgewater’s first game with the Minnesota Vikings is kind of a big deal.

Quarterback plus first-round draft pick equals perpetual spotlight.

“It’s a dream come true, to finally be able to play my first game in the National Football League,” Bridgewater said. “I’ve been playing football since I was 5 years old, and I’ve just been waiting for this moment.”

Anxious?

Nah.

Leave that to the other guys. Bridgewater recalled a dinner conversation earlier this week with cornerback Xavier Rhodes during which Rhodes revealed his nervousness for Bridgewater when the Vikings host the Oakland Raiders on Friday night.

“I just can’t wait to get out there,” said Bridgewater, who will relieve Matt Cassel at some point in the first half and take some snaps with the first team.

The Vikings have done nothing but praise his poise and progress since he arrived.

“When the lights come on, it’s a different deal. It’ll be good for him and how he reacts to seeing different defenses that he hasn’t seen very much of, how he has to readjust the blitz, how he gets the ball out and make the right calls, how he plays under pressure,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I anticipate he’s going to play very well.

Exhibition games, despite the anticipation they naturally create for the regular season, are notoriously lacking in meaning and drama for everyone not trying to make the team or pick the players for it.

Anytime there’s a quarterback or two in the spotlight, though, the intrigue can only increase.

That’s what is on tap for this opener, with Bridgewater taking his first turns with the Vikings and Matt Schaub making his debut with the Raiders.

“It does start once you put on that jersey for real,” said Schaub, who will be the 18th different quarterback to start a game for the Raiders over the past 12 years.

Second-round draft pick Derek Carr will also get his career going, when coach Dennis Allen decides Schaub is done for the night.

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