Two weeks into the NFL season, it’s hard to make overarching judgements or statements on a particular player or team. For the Minnesota Vikings, an ugly Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was just that — a small blemish in a 16-game slate. That’s why head coach Mike Zimmer, he of short tongue and temper, took a different approach to his team’s preparation before Sunday’s matchup with the Detroit Lions.
Rather than lay into his players on a short week, Zimmer encouraged the Vikings to focus their energy and attention on the Lions. “We’re going to let that game go,” he told the team last Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune’s Matt Vensel. And let it go they did, winning a convincing, dominating game yesterday against the division rival Lions.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who shouldered much of the blame last week, spoke to reporters after the game and shared how Zimmer’s criticism motivated him to step up his play on the field:
“Definitely, and I love it that Coach Zimmer is tough on me. He’s tough on all of the guys and it just shows that he cares about us. He wants us to give our all and play at our best every week. Last week we didn’t execute the way we were supposed to, but this week we did a great job of putting last week in the past and coming out and starting fast today.”