EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Reporters looking to start counting first-team snaps for Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will have to wait at least another week.
Notable among Thursday's OTA absentees was Bridgewater, one of 35 rookies and the only Viking invited to the NFL Players Association rookie photo shoot in Los Angeles.
Veteran Matt Cassel, the presumed short-term starter at quarterback for this season, took the majority of reps with the first unit and Christian Ponder, the failed former future franchise quarterback, worked mostly with the backups.
Bridgewater won't be on the field for reporters to see until next week's OTA sessions. He was, however, on the field for Wednesday's session, which wasn't open to the media and a certain former league MVP.
"He seems like a smart kid," said running back Adrian Peterson, who got his first look at the 32nd overall draft pick on Wednesday. "Looking in his eyes, you can see he's hungry. He's out there competing for a starting job and he's going to have to really work hard, because Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder, those guys are out there working extremely hard too to get that starting position."
Coach Mike Zimmer said all three quarterbacks will get reps with the first-team offense. He also has said there is "competition" at quarterback, although one would be wise to interpret that as coach-speak meant to motivate players than an actual open competition.
Although things could change quickly if Cassel and the team stumble early in the season, Cassel has a clear inside track on the No. 1 job.
Cassel made some nice throws Thursday, but, overall, he still looks like a guy trying to learn Norv Turner's more complex offense. Ponder looked the same and also made some sloppy mistakes, including a poor read that led to a pass being batted down by a defensive lineman.
Four of the Vikings' top five draft picks were not present. Linebacker Anthony Barr, the ninth overall pick, defensive end Scott Crichton and guard David Yankey -- all former Pac-12 players -- weren't allowed to participate because they haven't graduated and their schools are still in session.
Meanwhile, left tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Josh Robinson and safeties Andrew Sendejo and Jamarca Sanford didn't practice. Sendejo had a "back procedure" and Kalil had an undisclosed "procedure" about five weeks ago, Zimmer said. Robinson and Sanford also have undisclosed injuries, but Zimmer said none of the four players has a serious injury.