Coach Mike Zimmer just met with the media after his team’s third straight loss, a 22-16 overtime stunner against the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium.
While he thought today’s game was a “tough one to lose,” Zimmer said he was encouraged with the effort he saw from the Vikings after they got dominated in back-to-back double-digit losses in their previous two games.
“For the first time in three weeks this team fought like how I expect them to fight,” Zimmer said after the team’s first loss at their new stadium. “If we continue to do these kinds of things, then we’ll win football games.”
The Vikings scored a go-ahead touchdown with 23 seconds left in regulation. But they had one timeout remaining and an opportunity to chew more clock before Rhett Ellison’s 1-yard touchdown run on third down.
“I was trying to let the clock run down a little bit,” Zimmer explained. “I know we still had another timeout left and if we didn’t score I was going to let it run down a little bit if it was going to be the end of the ball game.”
Then, with no timeouts, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hit a big pass play to set up a 58-yarder by kicker Matt Prater to send the game into OT. Zimmer lamented his use of prevent defense during that critical drive.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would have probably rushed four and tried to get it that way,” he said. “But he spread it around and made a play.”
Of course, the outcome might have been different had kicker Blair Walsh not missed an extra point and had a fourth-quarter field-goal try blocked.
“We’ve got to obviously make some kicks,” said Zimmer, who after the game did not want to evaluate where things stand with his struggling kicker.