Teddy Bridgewater, drafted at the end of the first round by the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, has until July 25 before training camp officially begins. He's getting ready, ESPN reports, by importing the Vikings' playbook into Madden NFL 25 and using the video game to prepare for opposing defenses.
"It helps because you get one more rep than you had in practice, actual practice," he told ESPN, calling the plays "virtual reps."
"Any chance you get to take an extra rep or go the extra step, extra mile, it's going to be very beneficial transferring it to the field," he said.
At the University of Louisville, Bridgewater did the same thing with NCAA Football 14 — presumably with "himself" on the roster. (He could get a check somewhere north of $1,000 for his three appearances, as "QB#05" in that game, thanks to settlements EA Sports and the NCAA reached with current and former college players.)
Bridgewater is neither the first nor the only NFL figure to use Madden to prepare or credit it with his development. Margus Hunt, an Estonian and currently a second-year defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, said he taught himself how to play American football with Madden. And Raheem Morris, the former head coach of Tampa Bay (and currently an assistant with Washington) said he "majored in Madden" in college, saying it helped him develop his coaching philosophy today.
Madden NFL 15, with a renewed focus on defensive playability, arrives Aug. 26 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. For more, see Polygon's E3 preview.