Vikings coach Mike Zimmer avoided conflict in Sunday’s postgame press conference by starting the conversation with what Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins called “a friendly jab at the assembled media.”
“I hope I don’t get any questions about his arm,” Zimmer said with a smile.
Zimmer was alluding to the questioning he received all week after a last-minute decision to bench quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before the Week 2 preseason game in Seattle. Instead of explaining the reasoning behind his decision, Zimmer said Bridgewater didn’t play “Because I sat him. … Because I wanted to.”
This response started a minor squabble between Zimmer and the local media over the past week and led to a handful of awkward exchanges. The tiff even caught the attention of national media and was briefly addressed during Sunday’s preseason game on FOX.
Announcers Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch were discussing Bridgewater’s leadership qualities when Lynch said “He’s a leader and a great person on top of it. When I talked to Mike Zimmer, I said ‘Mike, you’ve been a little prickly with the local press and their handling of Teddy Bridgewater and he said ‘You know why, because he’s a great person, No. 1. He wants to be great and he works to be great and he knows how to play the game and he knows how to win. What is there not to like and love about Teddy Bridgewater.' ”
Zimmer reminded the media earlier in the week he won’t talk about injuries, so it's not completely clear what led to the lack of transparency, the injury or the desire to defend Bridgewater's character. But it appears both sides might have resolved the issue for now.