Vikings win and Zimmer is worried about overconfidence
By Chris Tomasson St. Paul Pioneer Press MINNEAPOLIS -- There has been plenty of talk about cheese lately with the Vikings even though they don't play Green Bay until November. After Sunday's 26-16 victory over Detroit, Minnesota coach Mike Zimme...
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS - There has been plenty of talk about cheese lately with the Vikings even though they don’t play Green Bay until November.
After Sunday’s 26-16 victory over Detroit, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer recalled a conversation last week with his mentor, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells. He said Parcells talked about the Vikings perhaps being overconfident going into their season-opening 20-3 loss at San Francisco, and then Zimmer said his players “can’t take the cheese this week, either, because people will be saying nice things about us.”
Zimmer said Monday he spoke to Parcells again Sunday night. Zimmer said he already has addressed the team about not being overconfident heading into Sunday’s game against San Diego at TCF Bank Stadium.
“It’s a good week to be demanding,” Zimmer said.
As for telling his team not to take the cheese, that apparently is a Zimmer staple.
“He’s always on us about not taking the cheese, not believing in the hype, and just staying within this locker room and don’t be distracted,” said cornerback Xavier Rhodes said.
The Vikings appeared distracted during the ugly Sept. 14 loss to the 49ers on “Monday Night Football.” They struggled on offense, with Adrian Peterson rushing for just 31 yards, and the defense allowed a staggering 230 yards rushing.
On Sunday, though, they looked like a different team. The offense got rolling with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater playing well and Peterson carrying 31 times for 134 yards. The defense held the Lions to 38 yards rushing.
“We played ball like we know how to play. It’s as simple as that,” said defensive end Brian Robison, who played well, finishing with a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and two pass deflections. “We lined up and beat the man in front of us. We did what we know how to do.”
Now, the key is for the Vikings to do it again.
“We can’t sit here and be all high and mighty because we got a win,” Robison said. “We got to move on to the next moment and try to get another one. … Now people are going to ask, ‘Are they really that type of defense or is that a one-time showing?’ So now it’s about doing it consistently.”
Zimmer didn’t have much to criticize Monday about his team’s showing against Detroit. He wanted the Vikings to get off to a fast start after the debacle at San Francisco, and they did just that by taking a 14-0 lead.
Still, there is room for improvement in some areas. Zimmer said the Vikings, penalized 10 times for 97 yards, have “got to be smarter” and avoid some of the infractions. He mentioned “dumb penalties” called on linebacker Anthony Barr for shoving Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford out of bounds and wide receiver Mike Wallace for rolling the ball after a reception in celebration.
There also were three fumbles by Peterson. One was lost, one was lost but nullified by a penalty and the other was recovered by Minnesota.
“We need to correct those quickly because we can’t have those fumbles,” Zimmer said.
Overall, there’s not a lot to correct. Zimmer’s mind-set was much different than after the loss to the 49ers, when he blasted his team.
“I think our guys kind of played with a chip on their shoulder (against Detroit),” Zimmer said. “The preparation was great, their demeanor was good all week in practice. … I’m proud of how they came out and performed.”
Now, Zimmer must convince his team not to take the cheese against the Chargers, who are 1-1 following Sunday’s 24-19 loss at Cincinnati.
“I hope we still have that feeling from that (49ers) game sort of in the back or our minds because we know how bad we felt,” said linebacker Chad Greenway. “I think everybody had a bit of a football hangover, just knowing we kind of laid an egg and did it on ‘Monday Night Football’ in front of everybody. … I think that hopefully lingering is going to benefit us.”
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