Almost 14 months after suffering an injury that cast doubt on his career, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is confident of returning in 2017.
In August last year Bridgewater sustained a torn ACL, and other structural damage, including a dislocation of the joint in his left knee during practice.
The severity of the injury had led some to question whether he would play again, but the former first-round pick returned to practice on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Bridgewater said: "It was great to be back out there yesterday, working with the guys. It's been a long 14 months. Have to continue to get better now. Getting back on the field was a mini milestone. I was feeling pretty good.
"I'm very confident [in my knee]. I wouldn't have went out on the practice field if I wasn't. I felt very comfortable being out there, competing. I didn't feel rusty at all.
"I definitely believe I will play this year, but I can't just sit here and say it. I have to show the training staff or the higher authority that I can get back to the way I was."
While Bridgewater believes he will see the field this season, he is not quite sure when his return will come to pass.
"I'm not looking that far down the road," he said. "I have to take this one day at a time, attack each day."
Bridgewater has 28 passing touchdowns and 21 interceptions in two seasons. He also has four rushing touchdowns. The Vikings traded a first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford after Bridgewater's injury, but Bradford has battled fitness problems of his own this season.
Case Keenum has filled in admirably in Bradford's stead, and there could be a quarterback controversy brewing in Minnesota once everyone is healthy.