Zimmer: ‘We can be a really good football team’

By Jace Frederick St. Paul Pioneer Press At 2-2 heading into the bye week, Vikings' coach Mike Zimmer isn't happy with where Minnesota currently stands. "We have to get better," Zimmer said, "there's no question." But he still likes his team, and...

(Ron Chenoy | USA TODAY Sports) Denver Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson, center, celebrates after a sack of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, on ground at left, in the fourth quarter Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.

By Jace Frederick

St. Paul Pioneer Press

At 2-2 heading into the bye week, Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer isn’t happy with where Minnesota currently stands.

“We have to get better,” Zimmer said, “there’s no question.”

But he still likes his team, and sees potential as to what it can be.


“We have a chance to be a good football team, and if we ever do put it all together, we can be a really good football team,” Zimmer said. “But that’s a lot of ifs and injuries and there’s all kinds of things. But there’s a lot of football left to be played and I think we have a chance to be a good team.”

After laying an egg at San Francisco in Week 1, Minnesota bounced back with consecutive home wins over Detroit and San Diego before pushing the undefeated Broncos to the brink in a 23-20 loss Sunday in Denver.

That performance left room for optimism heading into the bye week. Minnesota’s defense held a Peyton Manning-led offense in check for the most part, and Zimmer was pleased with the showing of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, particularly in the second half as he led the Vikings back from a two-score deficit to tie the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter.

Bridgewater completed 27 of his 41 attempts for 269 yards and a score.

“He got hit and roughed up a bit in that first half, and then in the second half he kept his poise and made some great throws,” Zimmer said. “He can play better; he can play a lot better. But I think he did some outstanding things in the second half.”

Still, the Vikings came up short, and at 2-2 they are right on pace for the .500 season many predicted at the season’s onset.

“We feel good,” defensive tackle Linval Joseph said, “but at the end of the day, we wanted to win.”

The Denver loss was another close defeat at the hands of one of the league’s top teams for Minnesota under Zimmer. The Vikings also lost to playoff teams Green Bay (three points) and Detroit (two) over the final six weeks of the 2014 season.


“But it’s not like they spit the bit,” Zimmer said of the Vikings. “They want to impress, they want to be with all the elite teams in the league, so I think every time we get into these situations and we’re able to teach and we’re able to coach and be able to fight back like we did in (the Denver) game, I think these are all great learning experiences with the young football team, and at some point and time we’re going to get over the hump.”

Heading into the bye week, Zimmer said, there are some things he feels good about and some things that need to improve. He’ll have time the next week to figure out how to try to do just that.

As for that hump, the Vikings are hopeful they’re able to climb over it at some point in 2015.

“We have 12 more games,” Joseph said, “and the sky’s the limit.”

The Pioneer Press is in a media partnership with Forum News Service.


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