"It was probably my favorite season by far, even though I didn't play much," Bridgewater told ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "This season challenged my mindset because as bad as I wanted to be out there playing, being the competitor that I am, I wanted to go to war and go to battle with my guys, I had to be out there in a different aspect. I had to be there for the guys mentally.
"It gave me a different role and I accepted it. It was one that was hard to accept because I'm a competitor, but I wouldn't trade this year for nothing."
Bridgewater hasn't started a game since the 2015 playoffs after suffering a devastating knee injury before the 2016 regular season. This year, he briefly appeared in a blowout victory in Week 15, attempting two passes and running out the clock.
Bridgewater, 25, could be one of the more interesting players headed towards free agency -- if an independent arbitrator doesn't rule that Bridgewater's rookie contract should toll into 2018 because of time spent on the physically unable to perform list last year.
The Vikings viewed Bridgewater as their future at quarterback before the injury. Now it's uncertain whether he'll ever be given a chance to earn a No. 1 gig.
Bridgewater still sees himself as an NFL starter. The question is whether the Vikings or another team will agree.
"I'm just going to continue focusing on becoming a better football player, attacking the offseason with the mindset of getting stronger and doing everything that I can to show that when the time comes, I'm ready to play football," Bridgewater said. "The best thing about it is my dream gets to continue to come true -- that I get to play football next year. I'm going to be playing football next year."